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Justin Verlander in the Home Run Derby?!

He can't do worse than Brandon Inge.

Bob Levey

Justin Verlander has stepped to the plate 33 times during the regular season in his major league career. He has no hits, no walks, 14 strikeouts, no runs driven in, and most certainly no home runs.

Why should he let that stop him from bragging about his batting cage power -- or for that matter, keep him out of the Home Run Derby during the All-Star Break next month?

Via Tom Gage of the Detroit News:

"In Houston," [Verlander] said, "I nearly hit one completely out of the ballpark - and would have if it hadn't hit the train (that runs along a track in left field) there.

"Put me in (the Derby) and I'd probably hit three or four. I would not come away with none." Verlander calls himself a "5 p.m. hitter."

"I go deep all the time."

Upon seeing the reaction of those around him, he said, "What are you laughing about? It's no joke."

Friday, some sort of ersatz campaign to get Verlander in the Home Run Derby seemed to be taking shape on Twitter. Why, exactly, is hard to say. Undoubtedly, it isn't serious, yet undoubtedly the thought has already sent fans scurrying in fear of the Tigers ace injuring himself while swinging for the fences in an exhibition event.

Verlander, for his part, says he will not campaign for it, though if others want to campaign for him, well, great, he's on board with that.

Of course, he did post this on Twitter, which includes a link to the Home Run Derby voting:

The Tigers, a team that has never lacked for sluggers, seem to have a Home Run Derby entrant yearly. Some, like Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder, do pretty well for themselves. Others are Brandon Inge, who managed to take exactly 0 batting-practice fastballs out of the park in 2009.

At least Verlander can't do worse than that.