Tigers counting on effective Verlander

Club hopes righty recovers from triceps tightness, gets back to dominant self

Tigers counting on effective Verlander

In the days leading up to Opening Day, MLB.com is examining various aspects of each team's roster. Today, the time has come to focus on a key player for the upcoming season. For the Tigers, that's right-hander Justin Verlander.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- For a brief moment, Justin Verlander was back.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Verlander day to day, could land on disabled list

If he can't pitch Friday, Tigers right-hander won't start second game of season

Verlander day to day, could land on disabled list

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Justin Verlander could still pitch in a Minor League game on Friday and be ready to make his turn for the second game of the regular season against the Twins on April 8. He could also open the season on the disabled list and still be eligible to return April 12 vs. the Indians, the first day the Tigers need a fifth starter.

That's the range for Verlander, who remains day to day with a right triceps strain suffered last Friday against the Blue Jays.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Optimistic Ausmus ready for early-season tests

Tigers manager discusses injury progression, division games and confidence in deep bullpen

Optimistic Ausmus ready for early-season tests

With the Tigers' opening the 2015 regular season next Monday against the Twins at Comerica Park, manager Brad Ausmus sat down with MLB.com to discuss his club's Spring Training and what lies ahead in the new campaign.

MLB.com: You came to camp with a lot of injury questions. How do you feel about those as the season nears?

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cabrera OK after taking tumble at first base

Cabrera OK after taking tumble at first base

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The day Miguel Cabrera returned to first base last week, he put a scare into Tigers fans -- and likely some club officials -- when he made a diving stop on a ground-ball single. His play Monday was a little scarier when he took a tumble over Braves hitter Kelly Johnson trying to make a tag at first base.

Cabrera, who has worked his way back from offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from his right ankle and repair a stress fracture in his right foot, fielded a ground ball from Johnson with a runner on first in the second inning of Monday's 4-2 loss at Joker Marchant Stadium. Cabrera had no chance at the lead runner, so he waited to tag Johnson on his way down the line.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cespedes homers to back solid outing from Simon

Right-hander allows one run over six-plus innings

Cespedes homers to back solid outing from Simon

LAKELAND, Fla. -- While Alfredo Simon delivered six-plus innings of one-run ball for his best outing this spring, the Braves rallied off Detroit's bullpen, including a Christian Bethancourt game-tying home run and a pair of runs off Joba Chamberlain in the eighth, for a 4-2 Atlanta win Monday at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Yoenis Cespedes' fifth home run of the spring extended Detroit's lead to 2-0 in the fourth inning while Simon was cruising.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nathan shows no ill effects from hangnail

Right-hander notches eighth scoreless appearance out of 11 spring outings

Nathan shows no ill effects from hangnail

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Joe Nathan left no drama hanging from his thumbnail issue of a few days ago, delivering a scoreless ninth Monday against the Braves.

Nathan, who struggled with command and gave up a game-tying home run to Jayson Nix last Thursday when a hangnail cut into his thumb, had no apparent issues Monday. He retired three of four batters, the lone exception being an infield single on a slow roller from Todd Cunningham.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Joba not bothered by rough Spring Training

Right-hander has allowed seven runs on 15 hits over 7 2/3 spring innings

Joba not bothered by rough Spring Training

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The first thing Joba Chamberlain answered when asked a question about his Spring Training numbers was another question.

"Do these games count?" he asked.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rondon gets another day to rest sore neck

Rondon gets another day to rest sore neck

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Bruce Rondon was originally on the Tigers' pitching list for Monday's game against the Braves. By midday, however, he was off, giving him another day to recover from a sore neck.

Rondon hasn't pitched in a game since last Friday, when he gave up two runs on three hits in a third of an inning. He was originally on turn to pitch Sunday, but was scratched after waking up with a crick in his neck.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers nearing completion of big league roster

Catcher Holaday, outfielder Collins among players optioned; Ausmus turning attention to bullpen

Tigers nearing completion of big league roster

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers' positional roster is now all but set, including catcher James McCann and utility guys Andrew Romine and Hernan Perez.

The team made most of its final decisions on Monday, optioning catcher Bryan Holaday and outfielder Tyler Collins to Triple-A Toledo. Both made last season's Opening Day roster, and both were in competition to do the same this year.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sanchez gets strikeout pitch working in latest spring tuneup

Right-hander fans 10 over 6 1/3 innings vs. Phillies

Sanchez gets strikeout pitch working in latest spring tuneup

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- There's been a lot of talk this spring about what a bounce-back year from Justin Verlander can do for the Tigers. There's been plenty of consideration given to the impact of a full year of David Price, and to a year without Max Scherzer.

But ultimately, Anibal Sanchez might be the key to the Tigers' rotation this season.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sanchez fans 10 as Cespedes, Collins go deep in tie

Right-hander touched up for three home runs over 6 1/3 innings vs. Phillies

Sanchez fans 10 as Cespedes, Collins go deep in tie

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Tigers finally jumped on Phillies right-hander Aaron Harang on Sunday at Bright House.

Harang threw three hitless innings before Tigers right fielder Tyler Collins hit a solo home run and Tigers left fielder Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run home run in a 4-4 tie with the Phillies.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Tigers' youth may be key to AL Central title run

Castellanos, Iglesias, McCann looking to take next step in development

Tigers' youth may be key to AL Central title run

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The danger with star-laden teams is that they'll get too old all at once, becoming a big-budget, low-win-percentage mess of unmet expectations.

Are the Detroit Tigers headed in that direction? Or is the baseball world not giving enough collective credit to the youthful cast supporting this club's signature stars?

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers' Double-A affiliate finds buyer

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The future of the Tigers' Double-A affiliate in Erie, Pa. gained some certainty on Friday, when an agreement was announced for Reds minority owner Fernando Aguirre to purchase the team.

The SeaWolves, a part of the Tigers' farm system since 2001, had been for sale for some time. Mandalay Baseball Properties has owned the team since 2003, along with several other Minor League franchises.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Verlander resumes throwing, status uncertain

Right-hander scheduled to make final spring start Thursday vs. Yankees

Verlander resumes throwing, status uncertain

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Justin Verlander resumed throwing Sunday morning, but the Tigers still aren't sure if he'll make his scheduled start Thursday.

Verlander did some "light tossing" at Joker Marchant Stadium, manager Brad Ausmus said. The right-hander still felt some tightness in his arm, but he came through the throwing session feeling OK.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phanatic got Miggy in trouble for stealing ATV keys

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Phanatic got Miggy in trouble for stealing ATV keys

Losing your keys might be one of the most frustrating experiences in the world, which might be what two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera had in mind when he decided to troll the Phanatic down at Spring Training on Sunday.

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Miggy launches second spring homer to fuel Tigers

First baseman hits two-run shot in first at-bat vs. Cardinals

Miggy launches second spring homer to fuel Tigers

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera hit his second home run in as many games before Alex Avila's game-tying solo homer and Jordan Lennerton's go-ahead double led the Tigers to a 4-3 win over the Cardinals Saturday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Cabrera continues to swing with little if any rust from an offseason of rehab from foot surgery. After hitting a line-drive home run two days earlier and taking Friday off, Cabrera came back Saturday and lofted an opposite-field shot that the wind carried to the batting cage building beyond right field.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Iglesias hitting better than the numbers

Shortstop looks to have quality at-bats after missing last season to injury

Iglesias hitting better than the numbers

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Jose Iglesias made the play on the first groundout of the game Saturday. He also made the play on the last out of the game. From a health standpoint, the fact that he played all nine innings indicates he's ready for Opening Day after missing last season with stress fractures in both shins.

His hitting, on the other hand, might be a little bit behind. He knows this. But he also doesn't think he's far off.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers' lefty relief race could go to end

Ryan, Krol both candidates for Opening Day bullpen

Tigers' lefty relief race could go to end

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The numbers were sitting on manager Brad Ausmus' desk the other day.

"I already looked at it," he said. "I looked at it, and I put it away."

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rondon's roster spot not automatic

Righty missed last season to Tommy John; Tigers most concerned with his health

Rondon's roster spot not automatic

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Bruce Rondon has given every reason to believe he'll be healthy to begin the season after spending last year recovering from Tommy John surgery. He has not necessarily cinched his spot as a Tiger.

It's not something Tigers manager Brad Ausmus wants to discuss much as decisions loom over the final spots in the bullpen. They're pushing him to try to win a job, not trying to give him an excuse not to. They're looking at the moments he has taken over a game but lacking the full season to go with it.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Verlander feels triceps tightness, concern level low

Verlander feels triceps tightness, concern level low

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Justin Verlander said Saturday morning he feels similar tightness in his right triceps to what forced him out of his Grapefruit League start Friday, though he said his level of concern remains low.

"Pretty low," Verlander said, "especially with the time we have [before next start], extra day and can even manipulate things forward if need be."

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Avila handles rare start at first base just fine

Catcher plays five innings at position during rain-shortened loss

Avila handles rare start at first base just fine

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Alex Avila didn't want to make a big deal about it. It was one game at first base, a half-game really, and nothing more.

"I really don't want to make a habit of playing there," he said, "but I will if I have to."

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Tigers crossing fingers on Verlander

Triceps cramp puts damper on day right-hander showed Cy Young form

Tigers crossing fingers on Verlander

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- What a strange, confusing, scary day for the Detroit Tigers. One moment, there was Justin Verlander at his dominant best.

"That's about as well as I've seen him throw in Spring Training in years," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nathan counting on Opening Day boost

Veteran reliever has three outings left in Spring Training

Nathan counting on Opening Day boost

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Joe Nathan is counting on Opening Day. That has nothing to do with the Tigers' roster situation.

He's counting on the adrenaline rush of Opening Day to give him a boost -- in velocity, in concentration, in command. He's counting on something extra when the bell rings, so to speak, that he doesn't get in Spring Training.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers drop rain-shortened game after Verlander injury

Right-hander leaves after 2 2/3 innings with right triceps cramp

Tigers drop rain-shortened game after Verlander injury

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays homered three times in a 4-1 rain-shortened victory over the Tigers on Friday afternoon in a game that was marred by the loss of Detroit right-hander Justin Verlander to a right triceps injury.

The game was called due to rain in the bottom of the fifth inning.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miggy, V-Mart hit first spring homers as Tigers beat O's

Ace lefty Price has his longest start of the spring, going 6 2/3 innings

Miggy, V-Mart hit first spring homers as Tigers beat O's

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Ten months after Miguel Cabrera hit a go-ahead home run off Tommy Hunter at Camden Yards, the slugger led a Tigers comeback with a game-tying drive off the Orioles reliever. However, it took a Victor Martinez home run in the eighth inning to break the tie and send Detroit to its second straight victory by a score of 6-4 on Thursday at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Martinez's home run restored Detroit's lead after Jayson Nix homered off a hanging slider from Joe Nathan in the top of the inning to tie the game. Add in a Yoenis Cespedes homer, and the power display broke up a pitching duel between aces David Price and Chris Tillman.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

J.D. Martinez ready for hurlers' adjustments

Outfielder knows that pitchers will be better prepared to face him this year

J.D. Martinez ready for hurlers' adjustments

LAKELAND, Fla. -- J.D. Martinez picked up some attention last season for the notebook he carried with him in the dugout to track how pitchers approached him.

Now that he has the league's attention, he's going to have to prepare for the notes other teams have been taking as well.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Justin Verlander takes sneaky selfie with fan

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Justin Verlander takes sneaky selfie with fan

Normally, people who take selfies in Starbucks lines are just way too excited about the massive amount of sugar and milk foam they're about to consume. But sometimes, they're professional baseball players who are super excited about … you.

Well, not you, necessarily -- not unless you're this lucky kid wearing a Verlander shirsey. 

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Miggy, V-Mart show off their power strokes

All-Star duo hit their first home runs in Spring Training

Miggy, V-Mart show off their power strokes

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez seemingly cleared the health hurdle a few days ago in their comebacks from their respective surgeries. In their battle to get their timing down at the plate in time for Opening Day, they both cleared the fence Thursday.

In the case of Cabrera, his first home run of the spring cleared the left-field fence on a line. In Martinez's case, his first homer in Grapefruit League cleared the right-field fence easily.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.