Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer's unusual offseason job

When the American League Rookie of the Year is announced Monday evening, Detroit pitcher Michael Fulmer just might grab the hardware. But he’s spending his off-season with a different sort of hardware, which makes him a throwback to the bygone days when ballplayers held real jobs over the winter.

Yep, the pitcher is a plumber.

According to an engaging story in the Detroit Free Press, Fulmer works part-time for Cyrus Wright Plumbing in Yukon, Oklahoma. He digs ditches, changes sewer lines, replaces pipes and fixes leaky toilets, the paper wrote.

Fulmer, one of the prospects the Mets traded to the Tigers in the 2015 Yoenis Cespedes deal, uses the physical work as prep for his winter conditioning routine.

Yankees’ Gary Sanchez is finalist for AL Rookie of the Year Award

“It’s a different kind of workout,” Fulmer told the Free Press. “Digging out of 6-foot ditches all the time and shoveling quite a bit. So, it’s a different type of workout, and it helps before I start working out in the off-season.”

Fulmer, 23, was 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA in 26 starts this season, allowing 136 hits in 159 innings while striking out 132. He finished three innings shy of qualifying for the ERA title and his final ERA would have ranked third, just in front of the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka. Fulmer, the Yanks’ Gary Sanchez and Cleveland’s Tyler Naquin are the three finalists for the award, which was voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Sanchez was a sensation when he was called up, but he did not spend as much time in the majors as the other two finalists. Still, Sanchez slugged 20 homers in 53 games and had a 1.032 OPS and there’s precedent for a player with so few games winning the award — Willie McCovey was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1959.

Sanchez or Naquin could certainly throw a wrench into Fulmer’s rookie hopes. But he’s still considered the favorite for the award.

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Fulmer’s boss at the plumbing gig, Larry Wright, is the uncle of one of Fulmer’s friends, according to the Free Press. When another plumber was needed on another job last off-season, Wright asked the pitcher to pinch-hit.

“He called me and I said, ‘All right, we’ll see how it goes from here,” Fulmer told the paper. “And I’m still doing it, so it’s fun.”

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