KANSAS CITY -- Luke Putkonen is eligible to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Sunday. He won't be ready to play, but it appears he won't be far off.
Putkonen threw a side session in the Kauffman Stadium visiting bullpen on Friday before the Tigers-Royals series opener, and he's scheduled to throw a more intensive bullpen session on Sunday. If he comes through that without discomfort in his right elbow, Putkonen should be on track for a quick rehab assignment or a simulated game. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said the Tigers haven't discussed that next step.
Putkonen estimated he threw about 35 pitches in Friday's session.
"I felt good," he said. "I spun a few curveballs at the end."
Putkonen's return will give the Tigers their long reliever back, filling a role they haven't needed much this season, but they figure to use more often over the next several weeks. While Detroit has had Drew Smyly available in the bullpen for a few different stretches in the opening month, he won't be a relief option during their stretch of 50 games in 52 days.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.