Tigers' Fulmer progressing well after sprained ankle
LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) AL Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer said his injured right ankle that cost him a start for the Detroit Tigers earlier this month is 100 percent and that he's on track to be ready for the start of the regular season.
Fulmer, making his second start since spraining the ankle during an agility drill on March 4, gave up three runs and four hits in 3 1-3 innings in a 3-0 loss Friday to the New York Yankees.
Fulmer threw 59 pitches. The Tigers had targeted him for 55 to 60.
''It's a process,'' Fulmer said. ''I think today was another day that the results might have not been there but just building up pitch count right now. Just building up stamina, trying to be ready for opening day to go 100-plus pitches. That's my main goal, to be 100 percent ready, 100 percent built up for my first start.''
The Yankees loaded the bases in the first on an infield single and two walks, but Fulmer kept them off the board by striking out Chase Headley on a 3-2 pitch.
''That first inning, I don't know what it was,'' Fulmer said. ''The ball was a little dry I feel like. I just couldn't really grip the ball that well. Literally sat down in the dugout and stuck my hand in the water cooler, just to try to get a little moisture. After that I felt like it was good.''
After perfect second and third innings, Fulmer gave up RBI doubles to Headley and Rob Refsnyder in the fourth.
''The fourth inning, all three doubles I was ahead in the count,'' Fulmer said. ''I felt like I made decent pitches. It's funny because the first inning I get outs with missed spots, and then the fourth inning I give up doubles on spots I feel like I hit.''
Fulmer went 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA in 26 starts last season.
I'm not concerned,'' Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. ''Obviously he didn't have his command for whatever reason, but he got his pitches in. He's progressing, his velocity was good.''
Fulmer faced scheduled Yankees opening day starter Masahiro Tanaka, who combined with two relievers on a no-hitter.
Tanaka struck out six and walked two over 4 1-3 scoreless innings. He has allowed three hits and two walks over 13 1-3 shutout innings in four starts.