Norris went five innings in his first start of the season last Thursday against Seattle. The former Science Hill High School star allowed three solo home runs but struck out five and walked none, seemingly cementing his spot in the rotation for the immediate future.
“I felt really good, and I’m excited to get back out there,” Norris said to the Detroit Free Press. “I’m definitely positive. I feel like I showed good stuff, and when I went out there, my command was better.”
The Tigers are going with youngsters Michael Fulmer and Norris in their rotation, along with Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann and Mike Pelfrey.
Norris said his slider has been his best pitch this season, which has been spent mostly at Triple-A Toledo, but his change-up has made the most improvements.
“I think this year, compared to last year, my change-up is head over heels better than it was last year,” he said. “Last game, I think I threw it most of my off-speed pitches. I got a lot of swings and misses with it.”
Norris has appeared in 20 major-league games since his debut in 2014. He has a 3-2 career mark with a 3.96 ERA and 54 strikeouts. He said he hit a wall after the fourth inning of the Mariners’ game — allowing back-to-back home runs in the fifth.
“I kind of went out and body-wise, felt like I hit a wall,” he said. “Just went out there, and I definitely think it had to do with adrenaline. It kind of got me high at the start, and it definitely had me hit a wall, but it’s one of those things I can focus on next time, just keeping that throughout and staying on an even keel — not too high, not too low.”