Tigers’ Norris returns after getting all-clear on sore groin
Lakeland, Fla. — Daniel Norris was back on the field working through pitchers’ fielding practice and running his sprints in the outfield. He also threw a light bullpen, but did not throw live batting practice.
This after flying to Philadelphia on Monday to get his groin examined by specialist Dr. William Meyers.
“Honestly, I hated to miss the first day, but that was the only day he could get me in,” said Norris, a left-hander trying to secure the fifth spot in the Tigers’ rotation. “I just wanted peace of mind and make sure it’s all dialed in and ready to go for the season. Everything is good.”
It was lingering groin pain that derailed Norris’ season a year ago, so he’s leaving no stone unturned. Especially after he felt some soreness after his first couple of bullpens.
“The way Boz (pitching coach Chris Bosio) explained it to me, they made some changes in Daniel’s windup and to some of the things he was doing and he got a little sore in his groin,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We just wanted to make sure there was nothing in there and that’s what they did. It all came back great.
“But it was all about mechanical changes, and that’s why he got the soreness.”
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Left-handed pitcher Travis Wood, a non-roster invitee, finally got the pins out of his broken right index finger on Monday and was able to catch the ball in his glove for the first time since he nearly snapped the finger in two in a crossbow malfunction five weeks ago.
He had been maintaining his throwing program, with the help of a teammate catching the throws back from the catcher. On Tuesday, he threw live batting practice for the first time and again, he raised eyebrows for his valor.
“Travis Wood didn’t even pitch with a (protective) screen — goodness gracious,” Gardenhire said. “He should’ve at least had an L-screen in front of him. Boz was yelling at me, ‘Go over and tell him not to try to catch a ball.’ But what if it’s coming at his lips?
“I don’t think I could really go tell a guy, don’t catch it if it’s hit at his face.”
His session went off without a hitch.
“That’s who he is, though,” Gardenhire said. “He is a gamer. He’s a tough guy.”
The Tigers are auctioning off the three Buddy jerseys, autographed and authenticated, to raise money for prostate cancer awareness.
As a prank on manager Ron Gardenhire, pitchers Alex Wilson, Jordan Zimmermann and Michael Fulmer had nameplates on the back of their practice jerseys read “Buddy,” for the first full-squad workout Monday.
That was a playful response to Gardenhire telling the team that he didn’t know anybody yet, and would have to call them “Buddy” unless he saw the names on their backs.
Fitting that the proceeds will go toward prostrate cancer awareness. Gardenhire battled and beat prostrate cancer last year.
You can bid on the jerseys at www.tigers.com/auction.
Around the horn
Tigers first-round pick Alex Faedo pitched live batting practice for the first time on Tuesday. He threw the ball well, but James McCann launched a long blast over the left-center field fence. Fulmer retrieved the ball and had McCann autograph it and present it to Faedo after the session. McCann and Faedo also posed for a photo to commemorate the moment.
... Alex Wilson, who is trying to win a spot in the Tigers rotation after working out of the bullpen the last three years, will start in the exhibition season tuneup game Thursday against Florida Southern.
... Gardenhire reiterated what general manager Al Avila said last month: Nicholas Castellanos won’t be taking any reps at third base this spring. “We’re going to leave him in right field,” he said. “He’s going to be our right fielder and all his work will be out there. We made that decision as an organization and we are staying with it.”