Detroit — Last year, Michael Fulmer took the Tigers to arbitration and lost. This year, as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, he’s avoided arbitration altogether.

On Monday night, Fulmer and the Tigers agreed on a one-year deal that will pay him $2.8 million. Ironically, $2.8 million is what he was awarded in arbitration last year and it was what projected Fulmer would get in arbitration this year.

Fulmer, going into his age-27 season and had surgery last March, isn’t expected to return until after the All-Star break.

It’s been a bumpy road for the power-armed right-hander since he won the American League Rookie of the Year in 2016. He battled nerve issues in his elbow in 2018, and then had his season cut short by a knee injury which ultimately required surgery in the fall of 2018.

The knee wasn’t fully recovered last spring — he was trying to pitch with a bulky knee brace — when he tore the UCL in his right elbow.

During the winter meetings last month, general manager Al Avila said Fulmer's recovery was on pace. He was already in Florida, working out and doing light throwing.  

The Tigers have four other players who are eligible for arbitration: Pitchers Daniel Norris ($2.9 million projected), Matthew Boyd ($6.4) and Buck Farmer ($1.1 million), plus center fielder JaCoby Jones ($1.4 million).

Twitter: @cmccosky