MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - INSIDE PITCH
DETROIT -- Justin Verlander was angry and scared in Pittsburgh on Monday night. A calmer, more relaxed Verlander met the media at his locker Wednesday afternoon.
Verlander expressed relief over the MRI exam he underwent Tuesday, which revealed no structural damage to his right pitching shoulder. He was removed after giving up five first-inning runs to the Pirates with soreness in his multi-million-dollar shoulder.
Verlander laid down a bunt when his turn to bat came up, then stormed into the clubhouse. He admitted after the game to being worried what the MRI would show.
With starter Anibal Sanchez and reliever Joakim Soria getting injured over the weekend and the team losing a 19-inning game Sunday, Verlander was hoping to give the team a long outing.
"My last start in Pittsburgh, when I came out of the game, that's the toughest game I've ever had to watch in my career because I knew they needed me and I tried to gut it out and stay out there but (manager) Brad (Ausmus) wouldn't let me do it," he said. "After I had time to calm down and think about it, I think that was the right decision. But it was hard for me to watch."
Verlander said he has some tendinitis and capsulitis in the affected area. He hopes that he will miss only one start and return to the mound next week.
"Right now, the plan is not to go on the DL, which is great," said Verlander, who is 10-11 with a 4.76 ERA in 25 starts. "I've never been on the DL in my career, and I don't plan to be now."
The loss of Sanchez (pectoral muscle strain) will be tough enough for the team to absorb. A prolonged absence by Verlander would have been devastating, considering the non-waiver trade deadline passed and the minor league options are unpalatable. Buck Farmer, who has made only two starts above Class A, was called up for a spot start Wednesday. He gave up four runs in five innings, and the Tigers went on to beat the Pirates 8-4.
Fortunately for Verlander, the concern about his ability to pitch the remainder of the season is shrinking.
"I'm as happy as I could be, given the situation," he said. "Obviously, you're kind of thinking the worst and hoping for the best. It seemed like I got the best news possible."
MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won one
NEXT: Pirates (LHP Francisco Liriano, 3-8, 3.82 ERA) at Tigers (RHP Max Scherzer, 13-4, 3.13 ERA)
--RHP Buck Farmer pitched five innings and allowed four runs in his major league debut Wednesday. Farmer collected four strikeouts, allowing six hits and a walk and threw 57 of 83 pitches for strikes. Detroit's fifth-round selection in the 2013 June made only two starts above Class A prior to the injury-related call-up. He was optioned to Triple-A Toledo after the game.
--RHP Max Scherzer did not get much run support in his last two starts, which hindered his ability to collect his 14th victory this season. He hopes the bats will come alive Thursday afternoon against Pittsburgh. Scherzer has allowed his three runs in his last two starts, but the Tigers scored a total of three runs in those games, leaving him with a loss and a no-decision. Scherzer, who is 2-2 with a 3.78 ERA in five career starts against the Pirates, has limited opponents to 14 earned runs in his past nine starts.
--RHP Kevin Whelan was optioned to Triple-A Toledo to make room for Wednesday's spot starter, RHP Buck Farmer. Whelan was called up just three days earlier and allowed back-to-back home runs to Pittsburgh's Russell Martin and Ike Davis on Monday in his debut. Whelan has been the Mud Hens' closer most of the season, posting a 2-1 record and 1.85 ERA with 20 saves.
--RHP Melvin Mercedes will be recalled from Triple-A Toledo prior to Thursday's game, the club announced Wednesday night. Mercedes was 0-2 with a 4.33 ERA in 41 games at Toledo. He is not expected to remain in the big leagues for long, but the Tigers needed another bullpen arm as insurance with RHP Joakim Soria on the 15-day disabled list.
--DH Victor Martinez had three hits and three RBIs on Wednesday, including a two-run single with the bases loaded. He has seven hits in the past four games, lifting his season average to .323. He also has 39 multi-hit games this season. He is currently the team's biggest RBI threat with 1B Miguel Cabrera enduring an extra-base-hit drought. Cabrera has no doubles since July 19 and no homers in the past 11 games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "When things aren't going your way, a lot of times we're trying to do too much. We've just got to relax, sit back and let this happen. You can't hit a three-run home run with nobody on. It's tough when everybody's struggling at the same time." -- DH Victor Martinez, on the Detroit offense, which broke out Wednesday in the Tigers' 8-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - ROSTER REPORT
--RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder soreness) left the Aug. 11 game after one inning. He underwent an MRI exam Aug. 12 that showed inflammation but no structural damage. He is not expected to be placed on the disabled list, though he is will miss his scheduled start Aug. 17. He hopes to return during the week of Aug. 18-24.
--RHP Anibal Sanchez (right pectoralis major strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 9. He is out until at least early September.
--RHP Joakim Soria (left oblique strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 10. He is out until at least early September.
--LF Andy Dirks (lower back surgery in March 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list March 29, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 21. He was cleared to resume light baseball activity May 2. He was throwing and taking dry swings as of May 10, and he was running again as of June 3. As of June 12, Dirks was hitting off a tee, doing soft-toss batting drills and running bases. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Lakeland on July 8. Dirks' rehab assignment was halted July 16 because of muscular soreness. He started a new rehab assignment with Class A West Michigan on Aug. 1 but left the Aug. 5 game with a left hamstring injury. He was shut down for the time being Aug. 8.
--RHP Joel Hanrahan (Tommy John surgery in May 2013) went on the 15-day disabled list May 2, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on July 19. He was throwing off the mound and playing long toss as of May 24. After a slight hamstring setback, he was only playing long toss from about 120 feet in mid-June. He threw a 25-pitch bullpen session July 5.
--RHP Luke Putkonen (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list on April 21, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 22. He began a rehab assignment with Class-A West Michigan on May 7, and he moved his rehab to Triple-A Toledo on May 9. His rehab assignment was halted in mid-May, and he underwent surgery to shave down the bone in his right elbow on June 13.
--RHP Bruce Rondon (Tommy John surgery in March 2014) went on the 60-day disabled list March 29. He is out for the season.
--SS Jose Iglesias (stress fractures in both shins) went on the 60-day disabled list March 29. He was declared out for the season by GM Dave Dombrowski on June 4.
RHP Max Scherzer
RHP Justin Verlander
LHP David Price
RHP Rick Porcello
LHP Robbie Ray
RHP Joe Nathan (closer)
RHP Joba Chamberlain
RHP Al Alburquerque
LHP Phil Coke
LHP Ian Krol
LHP Blane Hardy
RHP Melvin Mercedes
1B Miguel Cabrera
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Eugenio Suarez
3B Nick Castellanos
DH Victor Martinez
INF Don Kelly
INF Andrew Romine
LF J.D. Martinez
CF Rajai Davis
RF Torii Hunter
OF Ezequiel Carrera