Detroit Tigers: Daniel Norris looking to come out of the gates hot

Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press /

It may be early down in Lakeland, Florida, but Daniel Norris is already eyeing the start of the Detroit Tigers 2021 season. It seems like the energy Norris is bringing early on in Spring Training means he is ready to get after it and come out of the gates running.

If he can break out of Spring Training fighting for a rotation spot, the odds of him sticking their long term will likely be much greater than that if he is exiled to the bullpen. Norris is eager to get back on the mound for the Detroit Tigers in 2021.

In 2020, Norris had to battle some adversity beyond the adversity he has already dealt with to this point in his career. Norris contracted the COVID-19 virus, which kept him away from the Tigers for nearly a month before the team started up, which made things tough for the southpaw.

Stories have come out about how Norris was throwing bullpens in his backyard and doing what he could to stay active and move through the recovery process. Now, after a 2020 season under his belt after returning to the diamond, Norris is looking for more in 2021.

Detroit Tigers southpaw Daniel Norris is looking to come out of the gates already hot in 2021.

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In 2020, Daniel Norris pitched in 14 games after returning to the mound after his battle with COVID-19.

Norris totaled 27.2 innings pitched where he had a 3.25 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP while punching out 28 opposing hitters for the Tigers.

Tigers beat writer for The Athletic, Cody Stavenhagen, tweeted out some thoughts from his time in Lakeland so far, and he encapsulated Norris with one line.

He wrote, “Daniel Norris … did not take it easy. Some sizzle.” and obviously, there is not a ton to go off of here, but it plays into the theme for this article.

It’s Spring Training, baseball just recently returned, and most pitchers are likely keeping it free and easy, working their way up to get ready for the season.

On the other hand, Norris seems to be getting things ramped up early, hoping to bring an “all gas no brakes” mentality this spring.

Norris will be competing for a rotation spot even though it has seemed recently that he may be better suited for the bullpen. Currently, the Tigers starting rotation depth chart is in limbo. The Tigers signed some veterans who will compete for jobs like Julio Teheran and Derek Holland.

Not to mention the fact that the two young stars: Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, made their debuts in 2020 and will be looking for more opportunities in 2021. Michael Fulmer is also currently slated for a spot in the rotation, which could be a good way for Norris to sneak in there.

But, Norris could also be ramping up to prepare for a “new” role on the outside looking in. In 2020, Norris only made one start; maybe this offseason, he realized he is not going to start as much, and instead of trying to beat out someone for a rotation spot, he is ironing things out to be an effective southpaw out of the bullpen.

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There is a lot to like about Daniel Norris bringing the energy early on in Spring Training; the hope is that it can withstand the next two months, and when Opening Day rolls around, he will be ready to go.