March 2nd, 2014

Verlander to start Thursday, on track for Opening Day?

As expected, Justin Verlander will take his turn in the Tigers’ Spring Training rotation on Thursday in the spot Kyle Lobstein filled this past turn. Verlander will face a Phillies split squad in a 1:05pm ET game at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Maybe not so expected is what happens when you start counting five days out from that start. You get five starts for Verlander this spring, which is the number of starts he felt he needed in order to be ready for the season, but you also get Opening Day on four days rest. Doesn’t mean he’s going to get the assignment (Max Scherzer would be in line to pitch Opening Day on five days’ rest), but it means the logistics work out.

Verlander’s last hurdle before being cleared came Sunday morning with a 30-pitch bullpen session. He wanted to work through some mechanical issues he had noticed on his throwing progression back from core muscle surgery, but team officials wanted to see how his arm responded after two live batting-practice sessions over the past week. The Thursday start gives him an extra day to fit in another bullpen session if he wants to push that mechanical tweak.

Game 6: Tigers at Braves

The last time Anibal Sanchez faced the Braves, he struck out 17 of them. That was last April 26 at Comerica Park. He won’t face enough hitters to match that today in his first start of the spring, but he’ll still be worth following as he begins a season that could very quietly put him in the conversation among the elite pitchers in the league if he can follow up last season. Look for more on that on the site later today.

The Tigers sent a few regulars over on the trip today ahead of back-to-back home games to start off this coming week. Eugenio Suarez becomes the latest to start at short, while Danny Worth gets the first of back-to-back starts. He’s at the hot corner today, and he’s slated to start at shortstop tomorrow.

No TV today, but you can listen to the game on 97.1 FM back in chilly Detroit and MLB Gameday Audio online.


  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Ezequiel Carrera, CF
  3. Victor Martinez, DH
  4. Torii Hunter, RF
  5. Andy Dirks, LF
  6. Jordan Lennerton, 1B
  7. Danny Worth, 3B
  8. Bryan Holaday, C
  9. Eugenio Suarez, SS

P: Anibal Sanchez, Robbie Ray, Joe Nathan, Joba Chamberlain, Luke Putkonen, Duane Below, Jose Valdez


  1. Matt Lipka, CF
  2. Andrelton Simmons, SS
  3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
  4. Ryan Doumit, DH
  5. Chris Johnson, 3B
  6. Dan Uggla, 2B
  7. Joey Terdoslavich, RF
  8. Christian Bethancourt, C
  9. Jose Constanza, LF

P: Alex Wood, Luis Avilan, Corey Gearrin, J.R. Graham, Daniel Rodriguez, Lay Batista