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.