All he and the Tigers can do is hope.

They hope those neck demons flee during the coming offseason. They hope he can heal, fully, ahead of February and the start of spring camp.

They hope, most of all, that a man only 31 years old, with a sterling past and three years to go on his Tigers contract, can become the pitcher he and Detroit’s big-league club expect him yet to be.

Jordan Zimmermann rarely takes a dim view of his work and Thursday night’s postgame reflections were again rosy on a night the Twins destroyed the Tigers, 12-1, at Comerica Park.

But he had reason to feel good.

All because, in fact, he did feel good. His chronic neck ills eased after a 20-day layoff. He allowed a single hit through three innings before the Twins popped him for four hits and three runs in the fourth.

“This was something to build off,” said Zimmermann, who was neither displeased with a series of pitches the Twins turned into three singles and a double in their three-run fourth.