Verlander throwing, but next outing remains in question
Justin Verlander resumed throwing on Wednesday at Joker Marchant Stadium, but his scheduled regular-season debut next Wednesday in Detroit remains in serious question.
“It’s a little bit of a stretch right now,” manager Brad Ausmus said of his chances, “but I wouldn’t wave it off.”
Verlander threw from 60 feet at about 60 percent strength Wednesday morning, Ausmus said. There was still some lingering soreness in his right triceps, but he felt improvement.
“He felt it a little bit,” Ausmus said, “but definitely felt better.”
He could throw again on Thursday, but he will not pitch in a minor-league game Friday. The Tigers want him to pitch once more in Spring Training before setting his regular-season schedule, so he’d have to pitch this weekend and then come back on short rest to pitch Wednesday. Since his arm was stretched out to around 80 pitches a week and a half ago, he might not have to stretch out again this spring.
If Verlander doesn’t start next Wednesday, the second game of the regular season, Anibal Sanchez will start that game. Sanchez will start the Tigers’ home Spring Training finale Friday against the Rays, so he can pitch Wednesday on regular rest.
Verlander has never been on the disabled list, but depending on how long it takes to get rid of the soreness, Ausmus admits it’s a possibility. The Tigers could backdate a DL stint and have him eligible to pitch on Sunday, April 12, the day the Tigers would need a fifth starter. They could use his spot on an extra reliever, which might come in handy given an increasing chance of rain in the forecast for Detroit next week.