Tigers shuffle rotation before hosting Diamondbacks (Jun 14, 2017)
DETROIT -- Like the good dealers in the casinos nearby, the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks are shuffling their cards for the remainder of the week.
Pitching cards that is.
Manager Brad Ausmus disclosed prior to Tuesday night's game that right-hander Michael Fulmer, whose day to pitch on normal rest would have been Wednesday, will be pushed back to Saturday after he underwent an MRI for a right shoulder problem Friday.
The under-the-radar procedure revealed no structural damage but Fulmer was given a cortisone shot for shoulder bursitis.
"I can't believe you guys not picking up that he wasn't in Boston," Ausmus chided Detroit writers. "He got an MRI. He had a little shoulder tenderness after his last start.
"It just showed bursitis. No structural damage. Got a cortisone shot. Threw yesterday. Felt good. Throwing a bullpen (Wednesday). He's locked in for Saturday."
Ausmus said Jordan Zimmermann would pitch Wednesday with Justin Verlander going Thursday against Tampa Bay and then left-hander Daniel Norris before Fulmer starts again. Buck Farmer would pitch Sunday.
Zimmermann (5-4, 5.72 ERA) has not faced Arizona since signing with Detroit but pitched against them six times with Washington and compiled a 2-2 record with a 3.66 ERA. This will be his first start against the Diamondbacks since 2014.
As for Arizona manager Torey Lovullo, he'll see Taijuan Walker reinstated from the disabled list so he can start Wednesday against Detroit.
Walker (4-3, 3.46 ERA) has not pitched since May 19 because of a blister on his right hand. He is making his third start against the Tigers, but is 0-0 with an 8.71 ERA for 10 1/3 innings.
The Diamondbacks are off Thursday before opening a weekend series at Philadelphia.
"(Patrick) Corbin will start Friday," Lovullo said. "Zack (Godley) will start on Saturday, Robbie (Ray) will start on Sunday.
"We're going to bump Randall (Delgado) to the bullpen. That doesn't mean anything other than we're just readjusting some things with the off days."
Thursday marks the second of three days off the Diamondbacks have in eight days. The days off mean Lovullo will give Ray and Zack Greinke, who pitched Tuesday, a week between starts.
Ausmus expressed some satisfaction with his bullpen but outside of his top three or four, there are problems. The rotation has begun to firm up some.
"We just need to pitch better," Ausmus said. "We'd like to see our starters go a little longer, which would help the bullpen.
"We had double-digit hits the last four games, and we lost three out of the four. That's why they say pitching and defense win championships."
The series marks a return for Lovullo to the city where he got his first taste of major league action. He was drafted by Detroit in the fifth round of the 1987 draft and made his major league debut with the Tigers the next September.
Lovullo played 12 games for Detroit in 1988 and 29 the following year, playing under the burden of manager Sparky Anderson proclaiming him a coming star. Detroit traded him to the New York Yankees in 1991 and he wound up playing parts of six more seasons in the majors.
"I always feel a special feeling coming back to this stadium," Lovullo said. "Even though it wasn't the stadium I played in, there's still a lot of the same people that worked here.
"It was a special time in my life; the first organization that had given me an opportunity to play in the big leagues.
"And an iconic manager like Sparky Anderson. I still feel his presence when I'm around this environment. It's always going to remain a special home for me. I'll never forget the time that I had here."