Embed from Getty Images One tragic bullpen session promptly ended Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer’s season before it even began. The Tigers announced Tuesday that Fulmer has been recommended for Tommy John surgery.
At some point in the bullpen session Fulmer began to experience right elbow soreness a red flag for any pitcher. The result of an MRI confirmed the worst. The Tigers and Fulmer got a second opinion from famed sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews, but are also going to get a third opinion.
It is every bit a year to year in a half recovery from reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament surgery. “Your thoughts go towards him more than anything else,” Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. It is a big blow for Fulmer and the Tigers.
There were signs that something wasn’t right this spring training. Fulmer’s velocity, normally 96-97 mph, barely topped 91-92. Fulmer had surgery last season on a torn meniscus, the Tigers thought that caused the dip in velocity. They were wrong.
Michael Fulmer’s knee surgery was performed by the aforementioned Dr. James Andrews. Andrews, is the pioneering specialist on Tommy John surgeries so he would most likely be the man in charge of repairing the Detroit pitchers elbow.
For the rebuilding Tigers who were counting hard on the 26 year old right handed pitcher, it is a big blow. The Tigers in no way, shape or form should bring up prized pitching prospect Casey Mize. If the team was going to be in contention for the division title then they would bring Mize up.
Casey Mize is ready for MLB. However the Tigers want him to have as much time in the minors so that he is 100% comfortable when he is brought up. Now is simply not the time.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila was asked about a realistic time frame for Casey Mize he said:
“Well, Casey Mize, I guess, realistically, the most important thing, people have to understand, we have to build up a pitcher’s innings,” Avila said. “When he gets to the big leagues, you don’t want to worry: ‘Oh, I have to shut him down. He’s pitched too much.’
“In the minor leagues, you can go at your own pace. You give them 30 percent increases (every season) in innings. A lot depends on health, the stress of the innings he’s pitched. You have to build him up.”
That is the right path to take. So now the Tigers have one week to come up with a starting pitcher. Not ideal for sure.