Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Mike Pelfrey’s Back Issue & The Trade Deadline

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Jul 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers pitching coach Rich Dubee (52) talks to catcher James McCann (34) and starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey (37) during the third inning against the Houston Astros at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 31, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers pitching coach Rich Dubee (52) talks to catcher James McCann (34) and starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey (37) during the third inning against the Houston Astros at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers fluky pitcher Mike Pelfrey had one of his best starts of the season against the Houston Astros this afternoon, but it only lasted five innings.

Not because he fell apart, but because he reportedly was experiencing back tightness.

According to Anthony Fenech with the Detroit Free Press, Brad Ausmus said: “His back tightened up on him.”

This comes on the eve of the Trade Deadline. Rumor has it that Al Avila will not be doing any dealing and Pelfrey is currently scheduled to start on Saturday when the New York Mets come to town.

He was also scheduled to have an MRI after Sunday’s game, but no results have been released by the time this piece was published. Even if Pelfrey has to sit out a start or possibly two, the Tigers will most likely still not make any trades. Al Avila will not trade a young starter for an older one and there is little-to-no chance that Pelfrey will be a hot commodity for any teams.

If there is something wrong with Pelfrey’s back, it could mean that Daniel Norris might make a start, Anibal Sanchez might get a few more starts, or Jordan Zimmermann might return to the team soon. There is also no chance that Anibal Sanchez will be traded away either – he’s just too expensive. And, in case you haven’t heard, Sanchez is starting on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. 

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Fortunately for Mike Pelfrey and the rest of the Detroit Tigers, they get a day off on Monday. This gives the Tigers time to evaluate his status and get him the bodywork that will loosen up his back.

Also according to Fenech, Jordan Zimmermann is close to returning to the Tigers. He threw 78 pitches. Ausmus said that Zimmermann “felt healthy, but not sharp.” His return to the Tigers has not yet been set.

Norris has had a few starts with the Double-A Erie Seawolves. He threw 92 pitches in the last start and his fastball reached 96 mph. With numbers like these and no reported health issues, it would be easy to imagine seeing Norris on the mound within the next two series. This would give Pelfrey extra time to heal.

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Hopefully, once word is released on Pelfrey’s condition, it won’t be long before he returns to the mound. And, once Zimmermann feels ready, the balance between the veteran and rookie Tigers pitching could become quite interesting – in a good way.

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