Verlander throws 45-pitch simulated game
Justin Verlander threw 45 pitches over three innings in a simulated game Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park. What it means for his chances of pitching in an actual game soon remains to be seen.
Manager Brad Ausmus said a day earlier that Verlander was expected to throw four innings of about 15 pitches each, possibly longer if he felt good. Verlander said the session ended earlier due to shoulder fatigue, not pain.
Verlander threw all his pitches, including the curveball early, though he didn’t throw any in his third and final inning once he felt fatigue. The curveball was the pitch on which he strained his right triceps nearly three weeks ago, and he didn’t resume throwing it until his last bullpen session Sunday in Cleveland.
Between simulated game work, long-tossing and warmups, Verlander estimated he threw the ball about 80 times. Whether it’s fatigue or something else, it would seem unlikely that the outing would be his final hurdle before rejoining the Tigers rotation.
Kyle Lobstein filled Verlander’s rotation spot Sunday against the Indians, pitching five innings of three-run ball despite eight hits. Detroit pushed back that rotation spot for this weekend’s series against the White Sox at Comerica Park, moving up Anibal Sanchez and Shane Greene to pitch on normal rest this weekend.
Detroit will need a fifth starter no later than next Tuesday against the Yankees, also at Comerica Park. Assuming Verlander isn’t ready, Lobstein would most likely fill the spot once again.
Verlander seemingly had his velocity going against a trio of Tigers hitters — utility infielders Andrew Romine and Hernan Perez, along with bullpen catcher John Murrian. He also threw a decent number of sliders.
Verlander had been sitting down between innings to simulate the game process of cooling down and warming up again. After striking out Murrian to end his third inning, however, he went back in without a wait.