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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tigers' Justin Verlander expects to pitch in Tigers' Opening Series


By on 2/11/2014 07:00:00 PM

For Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander, this offseason has not gone as normally as usual. He underwent surgery in January and did not throw a baseball until the beginning of February. Now that he has started to throw at the Tigers' Spring Training complex in Lakeland, Florida, he is more optimistic that he will pitch on Opening Day -- or at least in the Tigers' first series of the season -- when the Tigers host the Kansas City Royals.


By Keith Allison, via Wikimedia Commons
MLB.com's Jason Beck reported on Tuesday that Verlander has no set schedule to follow at this point; Verlander will do what his body will allow him to do. He had abdominal surgery on January 9 on the core muscles that he strained during offseason workouts in early December. He felt fine soon after and did know the extent of the damage until he had a follow-up exam two weeks later. Verlander knows not to rush; the long term is more important, but he expects to be ready when the season begins. Said Verlander,
"My goal now is the start of the season. Whether that's Game 1 or what, I don't know, but I intend to be ready.... I'm starting to get to that period now in my rehab where I can start to, as long as I feel OK, just kind of do more and more. Knock on wood, I haven't had any problems."
Verlander is the Tigers' ace for a reason. He has a career record of 137-77, 3.41 ERA, 1.315 WHIP, 8.9 K/9 ratio, and average WAR of 4.5 in nine years since 2005, all with Detroit. He has made six A.L. All-Star teams and won both the Cy Young and MVP awards in 2011 (24-5, 2.40 ERA, 8.4 WAR).

The Tigers have the pitching and the offense to overcome a short-term Verlander absence, but they definitely want their ace ready as soon as possible. For Verlander, that could be Opening Day or very soon after.

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