"He kind of locked up again, a second time, this afternoon," manager Brad Ausmus said after Tuesday's 11-5 win over the White Sox. "So, as a result, we're just going to give him the 15 days."
Zimmermann, on the DL for the past month with a right neck strain, will be activated in time to start Thursday's series finale. He'll essentially take Pelfrey's rotation spot, with Anibal Sanchez and Matt Boyd remaining in the rotation as well.
Taking Pelfrey's roster spot is Martinez, who will be activated from the 15-day DL on Wednesday. Martinez, out since mid-June with a fractured elbow, has been on rehab with Triple-A Toledo for a week. After serving as a designated hitter for five games, he started in right field Monday and Tuesday night.
Zimmermann threw a bullpen session earlier Tuesday and came through feeling fine. He threw four innings in back-to-back rehab starts for the Mud Hens, tossing 50 and 78 pitches, respectively. Ausmus expects the righty will be able to go up to 95 pitches Thursday.
It's the effectiveness of those pitches that the Tigers have been looking forward to regaining.
"Jordan Zimmermann was outstanding until he pulled his groin, and the neck muscle came along," general manager Al Avila said last week. "So you've got to figure if he comes back healthy and gets back to form, he doesn't have to pitch as great as he was at the beginning, but he just has to go out there and be the regular Jordan Zimmermann. You guys have seen [Justin] Verlander; he's been great. Boyd had a great outing and [Michael] Fulmer's been fantastic, so this is a team that can compete."
• Triple-A Toledo pitcher Drake Britton received a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Tuesday after testing positive for amphetamine. The 27-year-old left-hander, signed as a Minor League free agent last December, was 0-for-3 with a 4.57 ERA in 37 relief appearances for the Mud Hens, allowing 43 hits over 41 1/3 innings, with 21 walks and 17 strikeouts.
• Another Mud Hens left-hander, Matt Crouse, was honored by the International League as its Pitcher of the Week for seven shutout innings on two hits against Gwinnett last Saturday. Meanwhile, Class A Advanced Lakeland lefty Tyler Alexander was named Florida State League Pitcher of the Week after six scoreless innings on two hits Saturday against St. Lucie.