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Tigers' Daniel Norris tests positive but will be 'ready to rock' when he's cleared

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit – Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris wanted to dictate the narrative on this one.

The Tigers’ placed him on the injured list Wednesday night, without designating an injury. Which, in this day and age, means typically that he tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

“I don’t care if you say I’ve got COVID,” Norris said in a text Thursday. “People thinking I’m hurt again is tough to swallow since it’s been the story of my career. I am healthy and ready to rock as soon as I get some good news.”

Daniel Norris

Norris, who will have to pass the COVID-19 test twice before being allowed back on the field, battled injuries in 2017 and 2018, most significantly groin surgery in 2018. But he stayed healthy and in the rotation for 29 starts last season. He was expected to be in the starting rotation this season.

But, missing what could be as much as two weeks of an already abbreviated training camp could be problematic.

"We went into spring training trying to figure out how we were going to use him," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He did so well in that starting role last year where we kind of limited his innings a little bit. 

"I thought we got a lot out of him and it helped him get through the year. Obviously, this is a setback. We'll see when he gets back on the field, see where he's at and how long it's going to take."

Gardenhire said there was no way to put any kind of timetable on Norris' return.

"But I will say this: I don't think too many people will outwork him or have outworked him," he said. "All we can do is wait and see how long it takes for him to get back on the field. ... We've got options, people we think we can stick in there right now."

Michael Fulmer, coming back from Tommy John surgery, and left-hander Tyler Alexander would be in that conversation. As could, potentially, prospect Casey Mize, who made another strong showing in the Tigers' intrasquad game Thursday.

Tigers general manager Al Avila announced Wednesday that there have been players who tested positive, but no names were released.

“We’ve had individuals that tested positive for COVID-19 and who were isolated, retested and passed the protocols to permit them to resume baseball activities,” Avila said. “Those individuals that are currently positive are being closely monitored by our medical staff and we hope to have them on the field soon.

“Pursuant to federal law and the MLB/MLBPA Basic Agreement, our club will refrain from identifying players who are unable to participate in workouts due to non-work related injuries.”

Besides Norris, Alex Faedo, Tarik Skubal, Victor Reyes, Daz Cameron and Isaac Paredes have also not participated in camp, which began Friday. Reyes, who was in Venezuela tending to the birth of his first child, was back in uniform on Thursday but didn't play in the game.

"I don't know what he's been doing as far as baseball activity and staying in shape," Gardenhire said. "I will have that conversation with him (Friday). He's just glad to be back, a proud poppa. We'll see where he's at.

"But if I had to guess, Victor has been doing a lot of baseball activity."

Infield prospect Sergio Alcantara was not on the scrimmage roster Wednesday or Thursday, though he did take batting practice on Wednesday.

Twitter @cmccosky