Jordan Zimmermann was coming off two straight encouraging starts and the last thing he wanted to do was be shut down again. He'd already missed two months and was just starting to regain some life on his fastball and bite on his slider.
And yet, if he had to sit for any length of time between innings, his neck and back would stiffen.
"It's not a good feeling when you are out there lobbing your first three warm-up pitches just to get loose," he said.
He knew what he needed. He needed another nerve-block injection, which he had gotten three times since 2017.
"The neck was getting worse and worse, and I feeling it in the back a little bit, too," he said. "And that liner back at me didn't help a whole lot, either."
In his last start in Texas on Aug. 4, Shin-Soo Choo hit a 105-mph screamer that caromed off Zimmermann's glove and knocked him onto the seat of his pants.
"We were in Dallas, anyway," he said. "So instead of flying back to Detroit, trying to make a couple more starts, I knew I was eventually going to have to go back down there -- so, I just decided to stay and get it done."
Zimmermann has used Dallas-based Dr. Andrew Dossett for each of his nerve-block procedures. Each time, it's almost instantly alleviated the tightness and discomfort.
"I've been playing catch (long toss out to 120 feet) the last couple of days and it feels good," he said. "I just took some days off (five) and let the shot do its work. Then ramp it back up pretty quickly.
"We already know how everything works, so it's a lot smoother."
Zimmermann is eligible to come off the injured list Thursday, but he said that's probably a little too soon. But, barring any setbacks, it could be while the Tigers are in Houston Aug. 19-22.