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Detroit — Jordan Zimmermann threw 69 pitches in a 4.2-inning rehab start for the Toledo Mud Hens at Durham on Thursday.

And if you ask him, he’s ready to return — now.

“I’m not sure what the plan is, but hopefully my next start will be here,” he said.

That message was relayed to manager Ron Gardenhire, who at first indicated his next start would again be at Toledo. Then he rooted through his folder and whatever he saw there, he hedged his bet.

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“Well, anything is feasible,” he said. “It’s a possibility. We have to see how he is in a couple of days here.”

Zimmermann has been out since April 26 with a UCL strain. He gave up four runs and five hits, including two home runs Thursday.

“The ball was coming out good,” he said. “The curveball was good, the slider is where I need it to be and I was spotting the fastball. I was happy with it.”

The Tigers, though, will need to monitor his next bullpen session and probably get another medical opinion before he’s activated.

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“If he’s healthy,” Gardenhire said. “We can’t force it. If his next start is here, how many innings are we allowed to use him? Honestly, if he’s at 60-65 pitches, that could be three innings or it can be six innings. It could become another bullpen game and we're trying to stay away from too many of those.

“But if he’s OK to pitch up here and everyone feels it’s the right thing to do — then I’m all for it.”

The Tigers won't need a fifth starter until June 29. The fourth starter spot, filled by Gregory Soto on Saturday, will roll around again June 22. 

cmccosky@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @cmccosky

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