There will be no DL trip for Justin Verlander, at least not at this time. The pitcher has been working through his shoulder issues, seeking input from multiple specialists, and now Verlander says he is ready to return to the mound for the Tigers.
The target date for Verlander to return is Saturday against the Twins (via MLB.com):
“I would say [the likelihood is] ‘strong’ to ‘quite strong,’” Verlander said before Wednesday’s game against the Rays. “I plan on starting. I think ‘penciled in’ is fair to say. There’s always an eraser, but in my plan there is none. I’m gonna start on Saturday, especially if everything continues to go the way it has been.”
Verlander last pitched Aug. 11 vs. the Pirates, lasting just one inning before being yanked with shoulder soreness. After the game Verlander admitted that he’d been dealing with a bad shoulder for weeks before but chalked it up to the normal wear-and-tear on a veteran pitcher’s arm.
Subsequent tests and consultations showed no unusual damage and Verlander was able to avoid the DL.
Verlander wasn’t pitching all that well before being shut down, but maybe this little rest was what he needed to get his form back. The Tigers need a healthy Verlander the rest of the season as they try to get in the playoffs in a very competitive American League.
Even if he is healthy, it’s pretty obvious Verlander is nowhere near the dominating pitcher he once was.