Fulmer, Tigers try to stop Yankees in series finale
DETROIT — Michael Fulmer’s short stay on the disabled list did wonders for his right elbow.
The 2016 American League Rookie of the Year missed a few starts earlier this month while dealing with ulnar neuritis, and he showed some signs of rust in his first start after being activated.
However, the Detroit Tigers right-hander regained his sharpness in his most recent start, as he didn’t give up an earned run to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven innings on Saturday.
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Fulmer will make his next start Thursday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series against the New York Yankees, who have outscored the Tigers 23-6 while taking the first two games.
“Obviously (the DL stint) helped because I haven’t felt it again,” Fulmer said Wednesday. “It was the right move at that time. I told (the team’s brass) it’s been going on for a couple of years now. It’s always been the day after it (aches), but four days later, by the time I make my next start, it’s fine again and I’m able to pitch at 100 percent.
“It was one of those things where it lingered longer than expected, but I only missed two starts. I was really happy that we got it calmed down and I was able to go back out there without worrying about it.”
Fulmer (10-11, 3.60 ERA) was a hard-luck loser against the Dodgers. He allowed an unearned run while the Tigers’ offense was shut down in a 3-0 defeat. He has losses in each of his past five starts, but the Tigers have scored just 10 runs in those games.
Fulmer has pitched 152 1/3 innings, and he hopes to reach the 200-inning threshold this season. He tossed 159 major league innings and 15 1/3 minor league innings last season.
“I feel a lot better at this point this year than I did last year at this point in the season,” he said. “It’s a tribute to the training staff and the strength and conditioning coaches, just to get my body ready to throw 200 innings.
“I threw 170-something last year, and the year before that I only threw 125. I’m going to try to build up toward 200 innings, and I think that’s the key, to be able to sustain being 100 percent healthy and just be able to eat 200 innings a season.”
Fulmer, who is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees, will be opposed by left-hander Jaime Garcia.
Garcia (5-8, 4.52 ERA overall) will be making his fourth start for New York since he was acquired from the Twins for two minor league pitchers on July 29. He pitched only one game for Minnesota after spending most of the season with the Atlanta Braves. He is 0-1 with a 6.32 ERA since joining the Yankees, though he has given up three earned runs in each of his past two outings.
“He’s done what he’s supposed to do,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s given us a chance to win. His schedule has been kind of hodgepodge. It has not been consistent, but he’s done his job.”
Garcia, 31, will be pitching on seven days’ rest. He has spent most of his career in the National League and has never faced the Tigers.
Playing for three teams and switching leagues in midstream has forced Garcia to make quick adjustments.
“It can’t be easy,” Girardi said. “He flew all over the country, but I think he’s handled that pretty well. I think he’s excited to be here and in this atmosphere.”