Verlander, Scherzer will have lighter load

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers have talked about managing the early workload of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer after back-to-back extended seasons and high innings totals. They now have taken demonstrative action.

While pitchers began live batting practice sessions against hitters on Saturday, neither Verlander nor Scherzer were on the early schedule. They'll throw an extra bullpen session on the back mounds before they take on hitters next week.

That, in turn, will impact their work heading into the spring schedule. Manager Jim Leyland said Verlander will make seven starts, the same as Doug Fister and Drew Smyly and one less than Rick Porcello. Verlander's first start is scheduled for next Sunday, Feb. 24, against the Phillies at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Scherzer, by contrast, is slated for just six starts.