ARLINGTON -- Justin Verlander is well aware where his starts fall in the Tigers' schedule. He knows his last start before the All-Star break is scheduled to come next Wednesday, six days before the All-Star Game in Kansas City.
Still, he insists, he isn't thinking about possibly starting in the Midsummer Classic, not yet anyway. There are too many deserving candidates in the American League this year, he said, to worry about it beforehand.
He's being that formal about it.
"Once I find out if I'm going or not," he said, "then it'll be on my mind. But yeah, it would be an honor. I've never done it before."
He pitched an inning in relief in the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim, but he has never started one.
Verlander went to last year's Midsummer Classic, but didn't pitch because he had started the Tigers' final game before the break two days earlier. He took in the festivities as more of a spectator; the only work he got in during that time was a side session in the bullpen at Chase Field.
This year, short of starting Verlander on short rest, there's no way for the Tigers to tweak the rotation to get him the last start before the break and the first start after.
"It's definitely different, a little bit more serious," he said of going to the All-Star Game knowing he's available to pitch. "It's more fun, but it does mean something. You definitely want to get guys out."