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Verlander solid in spring training debut

Justin Verlander had a strong start in his first appearance since having major surgery but it wasn't enough to keep the Blue Jays down as the Tigers fell in the tenth inning.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT--Justin Verlander looked like his old self as he pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. There was no indication he had undergone major core muscle surgery only two months prior.

Verlander's originally scheduled outing against the Philadelphia Phillies was cancelled due to torrential unrelenting rain so he used that time to get in more practice and build his count which at this point is only a few behind where Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello are at in spring training.

Verlander's fastball had a range of 90-94 mph and his curveball had a good bite to it, well enough to freeze a batter and nearly buckle a few knees. He didn't use his slider during the game but said it's looking good during practice.

In the 52 pitches that Verlander threw, he struck out two and walked two but allowed only one hit with two out in the first inning.

Don Kelly had a big day when he shot a first pitch rocket with two out 400' over the right field line for a 2-run home run. The Tigers retained a 2-0 advantage over the Blue Jays until Joba Chamberlain gave up a 2-run dinger to Dan Johnson in the seventh inning.

The game remained tied at 2-2 until Brad Glenn sent a solo homer to left field in the tenth inning which the Tigers were unable to recover from. The final score was 3-2 Blue Jays.

The low scoring game was a far cry from the results of Monday's 17-5 game. Miguel Cabrera was originally supposed to have the day off but he opted to stay in and take another day off. His only hit in three at-bats was a line drive single to right field, a bad day by Cabrera standards.

Phil Coke made an appearance in the fifth inning during which he struck out two and gave up a double. He was behind in the count often but showed improvement from his previous game against the NY Mets.

Coke's fastball topped 93 mph however his breaking ball needs work and Coke needs to get ahead of the count and control his pitches if he's going to earn a spot on the team for the 2014 season.


Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told reporters Tuesday that Jose Iglesias is making progress on recovering from the shin stresses that have plagued the starting shortstop for the better part of a week and a half. Iglesias partook in the usual batting practice but added jogging and fielding grounders to his practice which is a healthy sign.

As time is nearing where Brad Ausmus would need to decide whether Iglesias will get enough at-bats in spring training to be ready for opening day, any progress is good news at this point.

Tomorrow the Tigers travel to Tampa to face the NY Yankees for the second time this spring. Anibal Sanchez, who pitched in the last game against the Yankees will make another appearance. The Tigers will be batting against right-handed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda.

Wednesday's game will be broadcast on both MLB Network and radio.