DETROIT -- Drew Smyly, on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 7 because of a right intercostal strain, won't be ready in time for his rotation spot Sunday against the White Sox, and it's far from certain he'll be ready the next time that rotation spot comes around next weekend in Toronto. But he's trying to sound optimistic about his situation.
He's doing most of his exercises pain-free, he said. The only time he feels pain in his right intercostal muscle, he said, is when he "crunches" on his delivery.
"I can twist and turn fine," Smyly said Friday afternoon.
As long as he has pain, though, he isn't going to be cleared to throw.
"We're doing everything exercise-wise," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said. "As long as there's no discomfort, we'll do activities. If there's any movement where he's feeling discomfort, we'll shut that down. He'll begin playing catch once he can tell me that through all movements, both sides feel the same. But he's making progress."
It's slow progress, though, and it has Smyly getting restless. He has never been through this type of injury before, where it's persistent and hard to move without feeling it. Now that he's close, the fact that one movement is keeping him off the mound is frustrating.
Once he starts throwing, he expects to progress quickly. But it's not progressing that way now.
"It won't go away," Smyly said. "It stinks."
Smyly's progress likely won't affect trade talks one way or another. The Tigers, from all reports, remain interested in adding a veteran starting pitcher, and could do so by the time Smyly is ready to come back. An addition could make the question of a Smyly return moot, but if the Tigers acquire a veteran right-hander, they could face an interesting dilemma whether to bump the rookie or keep him as the lone lefty.