Hicks to see specialist for ailing groin; Norris returns to the mound

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
John Hicks

Detroit — The Tigers aren’t taking any chances with John Hicks and his ailing right groin.

Hicks will travel to Philadelphia on Wednesday to be examined by sports hernia-groin muscle specialist Dr. William Meyers — who has worked on several Tigers including Daniel Norris, Miguel Cabrera and former Tiger Justin Verlander.

“A tear is the worst-case scenario,” Hicks said. “Hopefully it’s not. The initial MRI didn’t show a tear, but there was something in there that they wanted to take a closer look at. That’s why I am going. I’ve done my research. My wife sent me an article on (Dr. Meyers) and he’s the best guy in the country.

“We’re going to make sure it’s not torn. If it is, then we need to get it fixed as soon as possible.”

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Hicks had played through soreness in the groin for nearly a month. The discomfort never abated. Then it got worse.

“When I was running to first base in my first at-bat in Anaheim (Monday), I really felt it,” Hicks said. “It had been there for about a month and I was just trying to manage it. We noticed it wasn’t getting any better.

“I wanted to keep playing but it got to a point where I felt like I couldn’t. (Head athletic trainer) Doug Teter called me in on the second day in Anaheim and asked me point blank — ‘Did it feel worse yesterday?’ I said it did and he told me we were going to shut it down.”


Daniel Norris

Norris progress report

Left-handed pitcher Daniel Norris, on the disabled list since April 30 with a left groin injury, threw competitively for the first time on Saturday.

Pitching for the Tigers' Gulf Coast League East team, Norris went two innings, allowed one hit, a walk and an unearned run. Manager Ron Gardenhire said his velocity topped out at 91 mph and he still felt some stiffness between innings.

“It’s just part of the process,” Gardenhire said. “He’s got to get back, get stretched out. Eventually, he will get out of Lakeland and get to another ball club and stretch out, innings-wise, and see how his legs do.

“Everything was good. It was progress.”

Gardenhire would not venture a guess as to whether Norris would be able to work his way back to the Tigers before the end of the season. He said that decision would ultimately be made by general manager Al Avila and his staff.

“Sure, there would be value in him getting back here this year,” Gardenhire said. “We could see him pitch, see him healthy where he was really letting it go. That would be great. But I am not going to sit here and say there’s this much chance or that much chance of that happening.

“I don’t know. It all depends on how he goes through the rehab.”

Fulmer update

Right-hander Michael Fulmer (left oblique strain) threw his second bullpen session in Lakeland on Saturday. He was expected to throw up to 50 pitches.

“He’s champing at the bit to keep pushing,” Gardenhire said. “He’s at 50 pitches and says everything is fine. He’s already trying to change his program, which we knew he would do. That was a given. He texted Andy (pitching coach Rick Anderson), he texted the trainers, ‘What if I do this?’

“We’re just trying to back him off. Everything is going just like we want it to.”

Gardenhire said there is no date set for when Fulmer will throw an official rehab assignment, though it is expected the first one will be there in Lakeland.

Around the horn

There was a scoring change from Friday night. A sinking line drive hit by Jose Iglesias in the first inning that Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario seemed to lose in the sun and dropped was originally scored an error. It was changed to a single. Thus, the Tigers scored their five runs on four hits, not three.