Verlander to 15-day DL, Lobstein starts Sunday
As expected, Justin Verlander isn’t starting Sunday. Kyle Lobstein is. The Tigers are hoping that’s the only start Verlander will miss. His triceps strain, however, is an injury that has already lingered longer than anyone anticipated.
“We’re not going to put him out there until he’s 100 percent, especially at this point in the season,” manager Brad Ausmus said.
Verlander’s trip to the 15-day DL became official on Wednesday. It’s backdated to March 29, two days after he left his spring training start against the Blue Jays with a right triceps cramp. It’s now classified as a strain, and while the soreness isn’t enough to lead to an MRI or other follow-up tests, it’s putting a cramp into Verlander’s rehab process.
“Early on, it was kind of grabby, I guess,” Verlander said. “Right now, it’s just kind of achy. It just gets tired quickly.”
On Sunday, it was apparently grabby, which limited Verlander during his bullpen session in Lakeland. That led to a postponement of Verlander’s scheduled session facing hitters.
“It just kind of grabbed me a little bit,” Verlander said. “The next day it was sore, which was why I wasn’t able to [face hitters] on Tuesday. Obviously, if I was sore the day after throwing a bullpen like that, it was probably not the smartest move to go right back out there and try to pitch in a game on Tuesday. So that is what set everything back a little bit.”
Verlander threw long-toss Tuesday instead and felt fine, then flew to Detroit last night. He still has to face hitters before he pitches again, and the Tigers will set up a simulated game for him to do that. For now, though, there’s no schedule for when that would take place.
“Some days are really good. Some days it’s a little cranky,” Verlander said, “but definitely a lot better than it was a few days ago, or a week ago. So, it’s definitely trending in the right direction.
“It’s obviously taking longer than I would like, but it’s just one of those things where you can’t really speed up the process. You’ve just gotta wait until you’re ready.”
Ideally, Verlander could return at some point next week. Ausmus did not rule out next week’s Interleague series at Pittsburgh, but he noted that the off-day next Thursday after that series gives them flexibility.