Royals, Tigers both aiming for second win

DETROIT — It’s an important start Wednesday for Detroit Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris, but how he fares may not matter.

Right-hander Mike Fiers, signed over the winter but slowed by a stiff back this spring, has been pronounced ready to be activated off the disabled list (he’s eligible Thursday) and said after his start against Detroit minor leaguers that he’ll pitch this weekend against the Chicago White Sox. Fiers opened the season on the disabled list with his sore back.

That means one Tiger starter will have to be subtracted from the rotation, and unless somebody gets hurt, that starter would appear to be Norris, the only one of the five who can be optioned to the minors.

Kansas City earned its first victory of the season Tuesday, beating the rain and Detroit 1-0 in 2 hours, 17 minutes — a game that saw the Tigers (1-4) get shut out by a 1-0 score for the second time this season.

“It was nice to get our first win,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of struggling through a misty, chilly day.

“Obviously the weather definitely played a factor,” Detroit skipper Ron Gardenhire said. “Because it was not just wet, it was cold.”

The Royals (1-3) will have left-hander Danny Duffy (0-1, 11.25 ERA) going Wednesday on another chilly day, his second start of the year.

Duffy was 2-1 against Detroit last season with a 5.17 ERA in three starts. For his career, Duffy is 7-8 with a 4.03 ERA over 22 appearances, 19 of them starts.

Norris (5-8, 5.31 ERA in 2017) faced talk all spring of not making the team because he was the only on-the-bubble starter with an option remaining.

He made three starts against Kansas City last year and was 1-1 with a 5.27 ERA. He is 1-2 with a 4.14 ERA against the Royals over his career in seven starts.

Fiers threw 83 pitches on Monday in a minor league intersquad game at Detroit’s spring training complex.

“In five days I’ll be out there again,” Fiers told MLB.com. “Just against the White Sox instead of Lakeland.”

That will be discussed by Gardenhire and his staff (plus the front office).

“We have to talk with a few people here and make a decision, talk about where we go next,” Gardenhire said. “But the trainer’s report came in and he’s great. Now we’ll make some decisions.”

Yost sat first baseman Lucas Duda on Tuesday after he suffered a mild hamstring strain late in Monday’s game. Chesler Cuthbert replaced him at first. Yost also put his Monday designated hitter, Jorge Soler, in right and made his right fielder, Jon Jay, his DH.

Jokob Junis pitched one batter into the eighth to win his first start of the season, allowing two hits.

“Those conditions out there were miserable, for everybody,” Yost said. “To go out and pitch a game like he did is unbelievable.

“I went out there to get him and it looked like I was in the middle of a bank robbery, Everybody had their masks on.”

The Royals announced Tuesday a move they made on Thursday, designating former top prospect right-hander Kyle Zimmer for assignment. He went unclaimed and Kansas City has now requested unconditional release waivers on Zimmer to clear a roster spot.

The 26-year-old may not learn his fate until Thursday, when waivers expire.

If no teams claims him, Kansas City hopes to retain him in its organization and oversee his recovery from spring arm fatigue.

Zimmer has battled various health issues since the Royals made him the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft.