Minneapolis — As Michael Fulmer sat in the Twins’ bullpen Tuesday night, right next to his former teammates, he couldn’t stop his heart from racing.
“It just happened so quick,” he said. “I don’t think I had time to even think about it. Rocco (Baldelli, Twins manager) asked if I could pitch and I was like, ‘Yeah, I pitched last night, but everything is good.’ But I was kind of glad I didn’t get in there last night, just with all the different emotions and stuff.”
With 30 minutes left before the trade deadline, Fulmer was still a Tiger. He was sprawled on one of the couches in the visitor’s clubhouse, periodically checking his phone and preparing for a 5 p.m. (Central) team meeting.
“It was different,” he said. “AJ (Hinch, manager) sat with us for a while, checking his phone. Nothing was happening. Then he left the room. It was getting late toward the deadline and he walked back in the room and tapped me on the shoulder.
“When we got to his office he said, ‘Well, you’re not going far.’”
Fulmer was traded to the Twins for Double-A starter Sawyer Gipson-Long. He packed up his locker, said his goodbyes and walked around to the Twins’ clubhouse to meet his new teammates.
“I think it would’ve been a little easier if I didn’t have to switch clubhouses like that,” he said. “But you can’t let the emotions get the best of you right now. It is a business, but we are human beings. I love those guys over there (Tigers). A lot of them have been my teammates for years. It’s been a fun ride, but when it’s time to move on, you have to move on.
“I happy with my next chapter.”
The weirdness didn’t end when the game ended Tuesday. Fulmer still had his room at the Tigers’ team hotel. He got back there just as the last team bus arrived, so he walked in with a bunch of coaches.
“It’s a fun time,” Fulmer said. “I will always be thankful to Detroit. I will always have a place in my heart for the fans, you guys (media), for AJ, (pitching coaches) Chris Fetter and Juan Nieves. Those guys saved my career last year by moving me to the bullpen.
“I don’t know if I would’ve held up as a starter at the time. Obviously moving me to the bullpen was the right move. I will be forever grateful to those guys and those teammates. But I am very excited to be joining this team. It’s a winning ballclub and I’m going to go out and try to do my job and try to get some wins over here.”
Fulmer got video Wednesday morning from his son Miles.
“My wife Kelsey was trying to get him to say, ‘Go Twins.’” Fulmer said. “He almost got it. He kept saying ‘Go Tins.’ He’ll get there. He’s been saying ‘Go Tigers’ his whole life.”