Zimmermann makes progress in recovery

Zimmermann makes progress in recovery

ARLINGTON -- Jordan Zimmermann's search for answers to the neck and lat issues that have sidelined him for much of the summer led him back to his old stamping grounds. While the Tigers were in Seattle earlier this week, Zimmermann was back in the Washington area, visiting a physical therapist he used in the past.

"We got some things figured out and found some muscles that were tight and kind of restricting me," Zimmermann said. "So we got those loosened up, and now it's just a matter of keeping them loose and keep stretching [them] out.

"I've seen a couple specialists and gotten shots and done everything possible you can do and MRI's have come back clean. It's just a matter of my body telling me something's not right and we just had to figure it out. It was in my neck and kind of in this little soft triangle spot that just keeps tightening up when I throw."

He isn't sure whether that will lead him back to the mound into better shape than he felt last week, but it's a start.

"I'm feeling better now than I was before," he said, "so I guess that's a step in the right direction."

Zimmermann rejoined the team in Texas this weekend and has resumed playing catch, starting a long-toss program aimed to get him back on the mound. But after last week's issues, returning from a month-long stay on the disabled list only to struggle against the White Sox and then go back on the DL last weekend, Zimmermann plans to exercise caution.

"I'm going to try to take this slow and not jump the gun like I did last time," he said. "I probably came back a hair too early and probably caused more problems than I could have if I had waited, slowed it down a little bit, but I tried to be a superhero and it kind of backfired a little bit."

Saupold escapes trouble

Saupold's journey leads back to Triple-A

Warwick Saupold's return to the Tigers last Wednesday took him from Detroit to Seattle with a connection in Phoenix. He flew from Seattle to Dallas with the team after Wednesday's loss to the Mariners, even though he was optioned back to Triple-A Toledo. He was getting ready to head to the airport to join the Mud Hens in Norfolk on Friday afternoon when he got the call to stick around.

"I love every day here, so I enjoy every moment," Saupold said.

Saupold was called up from Toledo without going back there, taking the spot of injured Jose Iglesias. He pitched three quality innings of relief, helping the Tigers get back into Friday's game, then was optioned to Toledo once more with Dixon Machado being recalled to take Iglesias' place for the next couple of weeks.

Thus, on Saturday morning, Saupold hopped that flight from Dallas, bound for Norfolk, that he was originally scheduled to take Friday night.

"I could've flown back to Australia with all the time I've spent on planes," the Perth native joked. "But it's all worth it."

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.