Nagging injury sends Fulmer to DL for 1st time

MRI reveals elbow ulnar neuritis for All-Star; Tigers add Mujica to bullpen

Nagging injury sends Fulmer to DL for 1st time

BALTIMORE -- Tigers All-Star right-hander Michael Fulmer was placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday, with right elbow ulnar neuritis, the team announced on Thursday.

"He's got some inflammation around the ulnar nerve," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Some fluid around it that's just putting pressure on it at times. It's actually been something he's dealt with almost every start where the pinkie and the ring finger on his throwing hand got a little tingly. In the last start, it kind of went into the middle finger, which he hadn't really experienced, so he got an MRI, saw the fluid, and we are going to place him on the DL. Hopefully get rid of all the symptoms before he starts throwing again, and he'll pick the ball up at that point."

In a corresponding move, the club selected the contract of right-handed reliever Edward Mujica -- who has 10 years of Major League experience -- from Triple-A Toledo.

"I don't know which one was most exciting, the first call back in 2006 or yesterday when he called me to the dugout and told me," said Mujica, who indicated he didn't expect the call. "I have just been working hard every single day, and I talk to my family a lot and I talk to [Toledo Mud Hens manager Mike] Rojas, and he told me to just keep doing what you're doing and you'll maybe get a shot."

Fulmer, 24, gave up a season-high six earned runs (seven total) in his start against the Yankees on Monday, and he said he felt the numbness and tingling for the first time during a start, which prompted him to talk to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand, who then ordered an MRI. This is the first career DL stint for Fulmer, who has a 3.59 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 140 1/3 innings this season.

"Honestly, I've been battling it for the last couple years. This was just the first time I've felt it during a game," Fulmer said. "I'm not really concerned with it because my stuff was still there, just kind of affected my changeup and obviously when you lose feeling in your fingers, it's not the best sign. But, hopefully it's just a little thing. We're just taking off a week and let everything calm down and take some anti-inflammatories and be good after 10 days."

Mujica, 33, last appeared in the Majors in 2015 with the Red Sox and Athletics. In 46 innings for Toledo, he has a 2.35 ERA, with 38 strikeouts and five walks.

"I like the idea of having a veteran guy down there right now," Ausmus said. "[Mujica] is a veteran. He's a good team guy, he's been in the bullpen, he's pitched in a number of different roles. Of course he was pitching pretty well, too; don't forget that. I don't want to underplay that. The fact that he was a veteran didn't hurt."

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
While Fulmer lacks strong swing-and-miss skills (6.4 K/9 in 2017), he has done well to prevent walks (2.0 BB/9) and homers (0.6 HR/9) on the year. As a result, he heads into his DL stint with a 3.59 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP, and he should be stashed in all formats. Shallow-league Fulmer owners can check waivers for a replacement such as Mike Clevinger, Collin McHugh and Luis Castillo. Meanwhile, those in deeper leagues can take a look at Brent Suter, JC Ramirez and Trevor Cahill.

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore who covered the Tigers on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.