Pablo Sandoval

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In this photo taken Saturday April 23, 2011, San Francisco Giants’ Pablo Sandoval is at bat against the Atlanta Braves during their baseball game in San Francisco. No longer the stressed-out, pressing third baseman he was a year ago for the Giants while fighting significant weight gain and his confidence, Sandoval has a spring in his step again. And, more importantly for the reigning World Series champions, some serious pop in his bat. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.