Detroit Tigers shut down Michael Fulmer as he prepares to visit surgeon

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MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians
Sep 16, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (32) reacts after being called for a balk during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

When Justin Verlander was traded to the Astros, it seemed like it was a no-brainer that Michael Fulmer would take over as the Detroit Tigers ace for the foreseeable future.

But that may not be the case.

One of the scariest phrases uttered in sports is, “[Insert player name] is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews.”

According to reports, that’s exactly what Fulmer will be doing and there is a chance he could be shut down for the remainder of the 2017 season. The reason for the visit with Dr. Andrews is because of a recurrence of ulnar neuritis in Fulmer’s right arm.

Ulnar neuritis, or cubital tunnel syndrome, is inflammation of the ulnar nerve in the arm that results in numbness or weakness in the hand. The ulnar nerve is more commonly thought of as the “funny bone” and gives feeling to the little finger and half of the ring finger.

Brad Ausmus told media members that Fulmer would be shut down for at least two starts and he would not pitch again until he was cleared by the doctor. The Tigers manager noted it’s too early to declare Fulmer finished for the 2017 campaign.

From Detroit News:

“It’s premature to say that,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He will miss two starts. He won’t return to the rotation until after he sees Dr. Andrews. Once we get his diagnosis, we will make a decision.”

Fulmer went on the disabled list earlier in the season after feeling a tingling sensation in the fingers of his throwing arm. The tingling has since returned, most recently in his last start in Colorado against the Rockies.

If you follow sports, you have almost certainly heard of Dr. Andrews, who is a renowned orthopedic surgeon. When athletes are sent to visit him, they often end up hearing news they could have gone with out. Hopefully, Fulmer receives some good news.