DETROIT -- Tall right-hander Drew VerHagen will make his Major League debut for the Tigers on Saturday in the front end of a doubleheader against Cleveland.
VerHagen is a fourth-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Vanderbilt. The 23-year-old said Friday that the command of his offspeed pitches has been a focus so far this season with Triple-A Toledo.
"I think just, me and Al Nipper, the pitching coach down there, worked on smoothing out my delivery, making everything on time in my delivery and also worked a lot on both my offspeed pitches, changeup and curveball, and improving the command of those helped a lot," VerHagen said.
VerHagen, ranked by MLB.com as the Tigers' No. 12 prospect, is 6-7 with a 3.67 ERA in 19 starts this year with the Mud Hens. The sinkerballer has allowed only five homers -- compared to eight hit batsmen -- this season.
"I guess keeping the ball in the yard is a big part of the game, so I definitely try to keep the ball in the zone and try to get ground balls, so I guess that just ends up working to my advantage," he said.
VerHagen's phone was out of battery when he got the call, but he had a voicemail waiting for him from Toledo manager Larry Parrish when he charged it up.
"I was just obviously thrilled at the opportunity, just really happy and went straight in and told my dad," VerHagen said. "It's a little emotional, and I was really excited. It was a good moment."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less