The earliest that right-hander Justin Verlander will pitch is next weekend in Minnesota. It appears that if he can't pitch there, the Tigers will have little choice but to put him on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
On Friday, manager Brad Ausmus said Verlander will not pick up a ball until at least Tuesday in Tampa Bay. (The Tigers are off Monday.)
"From there, it could go in a number of directions," Ausmus said. "He could put the ball back down, or he feels OK to throw a bullpen (session) in the next day or two following that Tuesday."
The Tigers will need Verlander, or someone in his spot, for one of the games in next Saturday's doubleheader in Minnesota. If Verlander can't pitch in that twin bill, it seems unlikely the Tigers would send out a reliever to bring up a starter to take Verlander's turn. If they did that, they would leave themselves one reliever short for the doubleheader -- a dubious strategy. The only real solution if Verlander can't pitch in Minnesota is to put him on the disabled list.
"We're going to hold off announcing our pitching for Minnesota because a lot depends on Justin's status," Ausmus said.
Disabled-list assignments can be backdated up to 10 days. So even if Verlander went on the 15-day disabled list, he could return for his next scheduled start after Minnesota.
Verlander exited his start Monday night after one inning because of shoulder soreness. On Sunday, for the first time in his career, he will miss a start because of health reasons. The only previous start he missed came in August of his rookie season in 2006 when manager Jim Leyland rested him for one start.
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