Norris, Anibal going through audition of sorts

Norris, Anibal going through audition of sorts

DETROIT -- Daniel Norris was asked after his start Thursday about the frustration level of his outing -- not so much the back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning, but the fact that his first start as a Tiger this season wasn't until late June.

"It's been tough," he said, "but I've been through a lot in my life, and I've never stopped working. That's one thing. Every day I get to wake up and work hard, no matter where I am. That's been my mindset all year. At some point, my time will come; just be ready for it."

Anibal Sanchez was asked Friday, the day before his first start in a month, about getting a chance to prove himself again in the rotation.

"I think I showed that I can do well from the bullpen," Sanchez said, "and I'm ready to do the same tomorrow. I just want to keep the same mentality, the same approach, and put in the game plan."

Sanchez strikes out Howard

It's not clear yet with either when that next chance might happen.

Jordan Zimmermann, who started Friday's series opener against Cleveland, is expected to come back on his regular four days' rest to start Wednesday's homestand finale against the Marlins at Comerica Park. Michael Fulmer, who would've been on turn for Wednesday but is being pushed back to help control his innings count, will pitch at some point during next weekend's four-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field, according to manager Brad Ausmus.

With Justin Verlander and Mike Pelfrey pitching this Sunday and Monday, the Tigers will need at least one of Norris or Sanchez at some point during the Rays series. Ausmus didn't want to call this an audition, but he's watching, both the results and the matchups.

For four innings, Norris' return to the Tigers' rotation looked very good, with one run allowed on two hits with five strikeouts. Then came home runs from Chris Iannetta and Leonys Martin, a double from Shawn O'Malley and a two-out single from Seth Smith. Norris' inning was finally complete when Justin Upton caught Robinson Cano's drive just in front of the left-field fence.

"It definitely leaves a bad taste in my mouth, the last inning," Norris said. "But I think for the first four, I felt strong out there. I think I just got kind of tired in the fifth. I'd been feeling pretty good all my starts this year as the game goes on, but kind of hit a wall.

"But for the first four innings, I have to look at the positives from that. I felt good, my stuff was playing good. I definitely was kind of locked in, and then the fifth inning was a different ballgame."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.