Justin Verlander Throws Simulated Game, Rehab Start Appears Likely


Mar 27, 2015; Dunedin, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher

Justin Verlander

(35) throws a pitch in the first inning of the spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander threw 45 pitches in a simulated game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday afternoon, according to Chris Iott of MLive, a number which was several pitches shy of the scheduled length. From that same Iott article:

"Verlander told media members a short time later that the session was cut short simply due to fatigue and not because he had a setback of any sorts. He said he felt no soreness and no pain in the area of the triceps strain that has him on the disabled list."

It’s good that he’s seemingly being smart here — calling it quits early when he felt tired instead of pushing through in an attempt to “prove” he’s healthy — and that he’s apparently pain free, but the fact that he was only able to last 45 pitches would seem to strongly suggest that a minor league rehabilitation stint will be necessary.

There’s been no official word from the Detroit Tigers, but one would guess they’d like to be able to count on at least 80 pitches (enough to get through 5 innings at 16 pitches per inning) if they were to deem him ready to return to MLB action. Due to an off-day in the schedule (Thursday), the Tigers won’t need a fifth starting pitcher until the Tuesday, April 21 game against the New York Yankees. But, with only six days remaining until that date, there’s no time to complete a minor league start beforehand. Either he’s ready to go now, or the team sends him out there and hopes for the best.

With a weak bullpen with it’s own depth concerns — Joe Nathan and Bruce Rondon are also on the disabled list — it looks doubtful that the Tigers would be willing to send Verlander out against the Yankees without knowing how deep he would be able to go into the game. We’ll have to wait for the official word, but for now count on Lobstein making the start in the majors and Verlander giving things a go in Toledo.

More from Detroit Jock City