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Justin Verlander: 'I'm going to start on Saturday'

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The injured right-hander threw without pain for a second consecutive day. Verlander is now a pain-free Thursday bullpen side-session away from returning to Detroit's starting rotation.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander threw for a second straight day in Tampa, reporting no pain in his inflamed right shoulder during his 15 minute long-toss session.

After the workout, Verlander stated he would make his next scheduled start, set for this weekend in Minnesota.

James Schmehl, Mlive:

"I plan on starting," Verlander said. "I think 'penciled in' is fair to say. There's always an eraser. But, in my plan, there is none. I'm going to start on Saturday."

It would be 12 days between starts for Verlander, who had never missed an appearance for health reasons before.

He didn't bring up his off-season surgery, but Verlander admitted age and mechanical tweaks, along with typical wear and tear, played a part in his shoulder issues.

Lynn Henning, The Detroit News:

"My body is working differently. It’s an effort to have everything fire correctly, which they think caused a lot of issues in my shoulder. Your body compensates.

"From what I understand, it’s the wear and tear you expect to see from any power pitcher."

The next step the 31-year-old veteran needs to hurdle in order to return to the Detroit Tigers rotation is a bullpen side session on Thursday. If there are no red flags, Verlander should be a lock to get the start in one of the two games scheduled as part of Saturday's day-night doubleheader against the Twins.