9:57pm: Fulmer says that he received good news from an ultrasound, as Beck tweets. The ulnar nerve is straying from where it is supposed to sit, which explains his symptoms, but there’s no structural problem in the joint.
5:34pm: A flare-up of the elbow neuritis that sent him to the disabled list earlier this year will keep Tigers righty Michael Fulmer from making at least his next two starts, MLB.com’s Jason Beck is among those to report. Fulmer will take a trip to see Dr. James Andrews for further evaluation.
While the appointment with Andrews may open some eyes at first glance, it’s important to emphasize that there’s still no indication that Fulmer — one of the game’s best young starting pitchers — is dealing with any structural damage in his elbow. His prior DL stint was for the nerve issue alone and he returned quickly. While Fulmer has not been at his best since coming back, he’s also throwing as hard as ever and evidently hasn’t shown signs of any new injury.
That’s not to say there isn’t a possibility that the condition might require further action. While manager Brad Ausmus says the elbow hasn’t hampered Fulmer much while pitching, issues with tingling and numbness are still lingering.
“So, it’s more about the tipping point of being ready for next year should something more have to be done,” Ausmus said of the decision to send Fulmer in to see Andrews now.
That statement seems to imply that a surgical procedure and/or more intensive rehabilitation plan may be under consideration. The club will wait to decide whether or not Fulmer will attempt to return this season, but with the Tigers embarking upon a rebuild, the obvious focus is on his long-term health.