Jordan Zimmermann will begin his quest for a comeback season on Opening Day.
Zimmermann, who receives the Opening Day nod over former Rookie of the Year and 2017 All-Star Michael Fulmer, is coming off a very disappointing season. He posted a 6.08 ERA and 1.550 WHIP last year while allowing over 11 hits per nine innings in 29 starts, and his 108 earned runs allowed were the most in all of baseball.
"Zimmermann's the veteran guy here," Gardenhire said of his decision, according to Evan Woodberry of MLive.com. "To me, he's the leader of this group and I think he should have the ball.
"For me, (Zimmermann) was a natural (choice)," the skipper continued. "I never really thought too much about anybody else other than him."
The 31-year-old is about to begin the third season of a five-year, $110-million contract with the Tigers. But since signing that deal he's looked nothing like the man who made two All-Star Games with the Washington Nationals, and has appeared in just 48 total games over the past two seasons. This spring he owns a 4.15 ERA with 12 strikeouts in four outings.
It will be the first Opening Day start of Zimmermann's 10-year career.