Healthy Jordan Zimmerman
The Detroit Tigers must avoid injuries to their core players to have any shot at a playoff spot, let alone the division. That starts with the second- or third-best pitcher in the rotation, Jordan Zimmermann.
The prized free agent acquisition from last off-season began his Tigers’ career with a bang. Victorious in his first five starts, he rolled to an ERA of 0.55 in April. Although not as effective in May, he still entered June at 7-2 with a 2.58 ERA. The bottom quickly fell out and Zimm pitched just 44.2 innings the rest of the season because of injuries.
During last week’s team caravan, the 30-year-old seemed confident injuries are in the rearview mirror. Zimmermann had this to say, per MLB.com’s Jason Beck:
"“I think the biggest problem we figured out was [a] nerve was getting pinched out of one of my vertebrae in the neck and then shoots [discomfort] down into the neck and into the shoulder,” Zimmermann said on Thursday as the Tigers’ Winter Caravan began to roll. “That’s what I was experiencing. … “I’m just happy that we got down to the bottom of this and figured out what it actually is instead of [saying], ‘Well, it could be this, it could be this.’ You have 15 people telling you 15 different things, and you don’t know which way to go. I’m glad that I went down and saw [the specialist], and he’s fairly confident that’s what the issue is, so I’m happy about that.”"
A rejuvenated Justin Verlander paired with injury-free Zimmermann could allow the Tigers to match favorably with Cleveland’s formidable rotation.