Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 5/31/12
The Tigers got a rare dose of good news Thursday afternoon. In a season where simply getting over .500 has seemed like a Herculean task, the Tigers found out that No. 2 starter Doug Fister does not have a serious injury to his rib-cage cartilage, and should miss a shorter period of time than he did when he was out from April 7 to May 7 with the same injury. That's a relief, since Fister has been Detroit's second-best pitcher since joining the team at last year's trading deadline. With the Tigers' much-heralded group of pitching prospects struggling in Toledo, they can't afford to be without Fister for very long. Fister originally injured himself in his first start of the season and sat out the next month. After returning, he pitched extremely well in his first four starts, posting a 2.10 ERA, walking only six batters and striking out 19. But given Detroit's anemic offensive performance this month, it isn't a surprise that he went 0-2 in the four games. On May 28, he struggled for the first time all season, allowing six runs on 11 hits in five innings of a loss to the Red Sox. Two days later, the team announced that he was going back on the disabled list after aggravating the same injury. Fister had an MRI on Thursday, and trainer Kevin Rand told media members in Boston that, although the results showed the same problem that he had in April, it should not keep him out for a month this time. During Fister's first stint on the disabled list, he was replaced by Adam Wilk. Wilk went 0-3 in his three starts, posting a sky-high 8.18 ERA. That took him out of the running to replace Fister this time, so the job has fallen to Casey Crosby. Crosby, who will make his major-league debut this weekend against the Yankees, is one of a group of young pitching prospects in Toledo. He'll be in Detroit because he's struggled less than the rest of them. In nine starts, the 23-year-old has posted a 4.26 ERA and walked 26 batters in 50 23 innings, but he has also posted 57 strikeouts. If he struggles that badly with his control against the famously patient Yankees, he'll be in big trouble. The Tigers are hoping to improve his command without losing the speed and movement that has let him pile up strikeouts. Either way, Crosby is getting this shot only out of desperation. Andy Oliver's control has been even worse, and top prospect Jacob Turner is still building up his stamina after suffering shoulder problems in spring training. That's why, given the fears that Fister might have seriously injured himself, the good news from the MRI caused more than one sigh of relief in the vistor's clubhouse at Fenway Park.
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