Left-hander Daniel Norris is returning for a second big league stint with the Tigers, the team announced to reporters Thursday. Norris, who signed a minor league deal after being cut loose by the Cubs, will start tomorrow’s game for the Tigers. He’ll make at least two starts, tweets Evan Woodbery of MLive.com. The Tigers will need to make a corresponding 40-man roster move before tomorrow’s game.
Further opportunities beyond these two scheduled outings for Norris will be dependent on the lefty’s performance and the health of the other options on the roster. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News tweets that veteran Michael Pineda is headed out on a rehab assignment and could only need two starts himself, for instance, so there’s likely some correlation there.
Norris, 29, was one of three lefties the Tigers acquired in the 2015 trade that sent David Price to the Blue Jays. (Matthew Boyd and Jairo Labourt also went to Detroit in that swap.) He spent the 2015-21 seasons with the Tigers organization, working as both a starter and reliever while batting a lengthy run of health issues — most notably a frightening bout with thyroid cancer which he thankfully overcame.
The Tigers flipped a then-struggling Norris to the Brewers for minor league righty Reese Olson last summer on July 30, and his results didn’t improve following the swap. He became a free agent after the season and inked a one-year, $1.75MM deal with the Cubs that didn’t pan out as hoped; in 30 innings with Chicago, Norris logged an unsightly 6.90 ERA with a career-best 32.1% strikeout rate but also career-worst marks in walk rate (15.7%) and home run rate (2.10 HR/9).
Since returning to the Tigers organization, Norris has made three starts in Triple-A and allowed a total of two runs on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He spent the season in the Cubs’ bullpen and thus wasn’t stretched out much at the time he re-upped with the Tigers, but he did toss four shutout innings with one hit, no walks and three strikeouts in his most recent outing (against the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate, coincidentally enough).
This could prove to be a short stint on the roster for Norris. However, with each of Pineda, Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize, Beau Brieske, Rony Garcia and Spencer Turnbull all on the injured list — plus Eduardo Rodriguez still working his way back from the restricted list — there’s enough uncertainty on the staff that Norris could earn himself a longer leash if he shows well in his first couple outings.