Zimm heads back to DL; Norris to start Tuesday

Righty aggravates neck strain; Ryan being called up for bullpen help

Zimm heads back to DL; Norris to start Tuesday

DETROIT -- The Tigers' hopes to avoid returning Jordan Zimmermann to the disabled list proved short-lived. Detroit placed the veteran right-hander back on the 15-day DL after Saturday night's 6-5 win over the Mets with an aggravation of his right neck strain and will recall left-hander Daniel Norris from Triple-A Toledo on Monday to take his place in the rotation.

Kyle Ryan is being recalled from Toledo on Sunday to fill Zimmermann's roster spot as an extra reliever. Norris will return when reliever Bruce Rondon is placed on the paternity leave list on Monday, and the lefty will start against the Mariners on Tuesday.

Zimmermann returned from the DL on Thursday after missing a month with the neck injury. However, he lasted just 1 2/3 innings, hampered by tightness in his right lat area. An MRI showed no major damage, and Zimmermann was planning to throw a bullpen session Sunday in hopes of making his next turn in the rotation Tuesday at Seattle.

After Zimmermann tried to play catch Saturday afternoon and didn't feel right, however, the Tigers decided to make the move. This time, the issue was closer to the neck than the lat.

"It's a combination of him playing catch, not feeling like we hoped he would and some precaution as well," manager Brad Ausmus said. "[We are] figuring it's probably best that we get him back at full strength rather than trying to fight through it at 80 percent for a couple starts."

Asked if Zimmermann might have been rushed back from the disabled list, Ausmus said Zimmermann told them after his rehab start that he felt he was ready to return. At this point, there's no timetable for his return.

"He's not going to pick up a ball for four days," Ausmus said Sunday. "He's not going to go to Seattle with us, but he'll meet us in Texas, and he'll start throwing there. Then we're just going to progress him based on how he feels."

Norris is fresh off the disabled list himself, having missed a month with an oblique strain. The Tigers activated him from the DL earlier this week but immediately optioned him to Toledo, where he could maintain his innings and stay fresh in case the Tigers needed another starter to fill a spot. They weren't anticipating that need coming so soon.

Norris started Thursday for the Mud Hens, throwing seven innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts. Add in three Minor League rehab starts, and Norris has given up 10 runs on 20 hits over 22 1/3 innings between Toledo and Double-A Erie, walking seven and striking out 21.

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.