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Tigers push back David Price's next start, Justin Verlander makes progress

Bruce Rondon also continues to make progress, but the Tigers don't have the results of the second opinion on Alex Avila.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT -- David Price will not make his next start on Thursday. The left-handed starter was going to make his regularly scheduled start after a mild right hamstring injury on Friday, but because of the upcoming off-day on Monday, the Detroit Tigers opted to proceed with caution.

Price played catch Sunday afternoon and said he felt good and could make what was his scheduled start, but the off-day provided the Tigers some flexibility in the schedule, and the ability to get a couple of starters an extra day of rest. Anibal Sanchez will now pitch on Thursday, and Shane Greene starts the series opener at St. Louis against the Cardinals.

"(Price) wasn't overly upset, cause now he gets to hit," Ausmus said. "Because we have the day off (on Monday) we just took the safe route. I don't know if we would've -- if we weren't forcing that, I don't know what the decision would be."

The move is more of a precaution than anything else at this point. On the flip side, there is a "little bit" of concern with Price hitting in St. Louis because if Price gets a hit he'll obviously be running. Considering Price's affinity for hitting, Ausmus said he cautioned Price not to be too aggressive on the bases if he hits a ball fair.

Price's response? "I don't hit the ball where I need to run."

"He said it with a smile on his face," Ausmus said of Price, who has been walking around the clubhouse with a bat the last few days. At least Price's confidence hasn't waned any.

Meanwhile, Bruce Rondon has made progress since arriving in Detroit. Sunday he threw from 60, 90, and then 120 feet, as did Justin Verlander, who was not expecting to throw from 120. Verlander, who threw 65 pitches including some sliders, is encouraged by the progress he's making lately and reports no pain or limitations. Rondon, while he didn't throw as many pitches as Verlander, was not far behind.

Ausmus caught Rondon's and Verlander's throwing sessions, as well as Blaine Hardy. In Hardy's case, he and Ausmus were working on something and Ausmus wanted to see it from the catcher's perspective. That's now at least the fourth time the Tigers manager has caught one of the team's pitchers in the last month.

"I was bored," Ausmus joked.

Verlander is hoping for a light bullpen on Tuesday and believes that as it's only been three weeks since he last threw, that he's not starting from scratch. While not throwing at 100 percent, Sunday Verlander said he was at about 80 percent. The next major milestone for Verlander would be throwing off a mound but the biggest difference for Verlander has been the lack of road blocks.

"Like the first time, the first day I threw was 20 pitches and my arm was really tired," Verlander said. "I was like, all right, I'm done. A couple times of that and I was able to throw at 60 feet normally. The first time I went to back it up, the first time I went to long toss, it was eh, I'm tired, sore again, let's back it down and do that for a couple more times. Then I was able to long toss.

"This time there's been no road blocks. It's been if I want to long toss, I long toss. I don't have to work through anything, everything felt normal. That's a good sign for me."

With the off-day on Monday, the Tigers will hopefully receive news back from the specialist that they have been waiting to hear from regarding Alex Avila. There's no way to know for sure yet on whether the injury will require surgery, but scoping out the "loose body" seems the likely route.