Verlander Day: Tigers vs. Blue Jays split squad
Happy Verlander Day, if you’ve been waiting on his return. The weather forecast is solid, unlike five days ago, so there shouldn’t be anything to keep him from his first game action of the spring.
Verlander has a flexible pitch count, according to Brad Ausmus. He could get anywhere from 50 to 55 pitches depending on how he’s feeling and how quick his innings go.
“It’s really just flexibility because of the rainout situation [last week],” Ausmus said.
Unlike his side sessions and live BP, however, Verlander will not get a green light to extend his pitch count beyond that, other than maybe a pitch or two.
“We’re still going to be cautious about this,” Ausmus said. “The last thing we want to do is overextend him.”
Miguel Cabrera is back in the Tigers lineup after his two-homer game yesterday. Of the three players who started both ends of the Jupiter end the previous two days, he’s the one guy in the starting lineup today. He’ll get some rest shortly, just not today.
Cabrera said this morning he’s looking for about 70-80 plate appearances by Opening Day. He’s at 24 right now. Physically, he’s feeling good, which is probably the main point. The key now is to get the timing down. He’s starting to center the ball well.
“I want to be sure I get 70-80 so I can be the most ready I can,” Cabrera said.
He’ll get his at-bats today in a batting order that, at least for the first six spots, might look like a regular season order. The big question is what Ausmus will decide to do with the two spot in games when Davis starts. He still isn’t saying. He has been getting Hunter a steady diet of at-bats in the two spot while rotating hitters at fifth and sixth.
- Ian Kinsler, 2B
- Rajai Davis, LF
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B
- Victor Martinez, DH
- Torii Hunter, RF
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Don Kelly, 3B
- Bryan Holaday, C
- Eugenio Suarez, SS
P: Justin Verlander, Robbie Ray, Phil Coke, Joe Nathan, Joba Chamberlain, Al Alburquerque, Bruce Rondon
- Jose Reyes, SS
- Maicer Izturis, 3B
- Melky Cabrera, CF
- Edwin Encarnacion, DH
- Dan Johnson, 1B
- Josh Thole, C
- Steve Tolleson, LF
- Anthony Gose, RF
- Ryan Goins, 2B
P: Todd Redmond, Aaron Loup, Neil Wagner, Brett Cecil, John Stilson
The Jays’ other split squad is facing the Canadian Junior National team today. Colby Rasmus is not making the trip to Lakeland, if you were thinking back to his slide on Omar Infante last July.