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Justin Verlander aiming for Saturday return

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Justin Verlander participated in a 10-minute throwing session today, Detroit's injured right-hander stating he felt no pain in his right shoulder.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Sidelined due to a sore right shoulder, Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander took part in a 10-minute throwing session in Tampa today, making 60-foot tosses while playing catch on the Tropicana Field turf. It was the first time Verlander has thrown since his ill-fated start against the Pirates over a week ago

The results were encouraging enough for Verlander to target a weekend return to the rotation, while dismissing any thoughts of a stint on the disabled list. Barring any setbacks, it's hoped Verlander's next start will be in one of the  two games scheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader in Minnesota this Satruday.

Verlander spoke to the media and had nothing but good things to say about his workout and how much better his shoulder feels.

Via George Sipple of the Free Press:

"Definitely felt a whole lot better," Verlander said. "There wasn't that can't-get-loose feeling. Arm felt loose and felt good. Felt like a normal kind of taking six days off or however many days off. There’s going to be some little kinks in there, but as far as shoulder to join mobility and how it felt getting loose, it felt much better."

"I think I’ll know more as it goes along," Verlander said. "I’ll know more tomorrow and I’ll probably know a lot more on Thursday. Judging how I felt and how pretty much every pitcher feels after taking some time off, working back into your throwing, it takes a few days for your arm to loosen back up and feel natural throwing again. Hopefully that’s just a natural process.

"My arm’s not going to feel like it did when I was 20 years old again. But being able to get loose without pain and being able to get through that threshold where I go from just tossing to throwing, that took me half an hour on game days."

Manager Brad Ausmus was more cautious in his assessment. He stated the team would wait to see how Verlander feels on Wednesday before making further determination as to his pitcher's status. If there is a setback of some sort, Chris Iott of Mlive reports Buck Farmer and Kyle Lobstein are being considered for the starting nod.

Verlander added he received three different medical opinions on his sore shoulder. All agreed with the original diagnosis - shoulder inflammation, with no structural damage.

The 31-year-old right -hander is coming off the shortest start of his career; a one inning outing on August 11. Unable to get loose, Verlander was pulled after allowing five runs on four hits and two walks in an 11-6 loss to the Pirates. After the game, Verlander admitted he had been battling a sore shoulder, refusing to say how long it had been an issue. The 10-year-veteran has been on the shelf ever since, forcing Verlander to miss a start due to injury for the first time in his career