Haven’t heard much from Justin Verlander since the season ended, have we? Maybe something about an award, a tweet, a supermodel fiancée? Well, we heard a lot more on Thursday. Jonah Keri, a fine baseball writer for the now-defunct Grantland (among other places), had Verlander on his podcast this week, and it was an illuminating conversation.
Really, since the end of the season, we’ve seen the Tigers’ ace loose and active on social media in a way he never was before. Just a few weeks ago, Verlander set the record straight on his 2015 spring training injury (via Twitter, of course). Preliminary media reports of a triceps strain were incorrect. On further examination via MRI, the issue was found to be a lat strain instead.
You remember correctly. That was initial thought (what media wrote). After MRI realized it was Lat. https://t.co/Lgmgf4hGjz— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) October 31, 2016
Was a lat strain. Came from getting my mobility back after prev core surgery. Wasn't structural. https://t.co/uWTCoFdesi— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) October 31, 2016
Whether sharing photos of a trip to Italy via Instagram...
...or firebombing Twitter trolls...
...we’ve seen Verlander embracing both his reclaimed status as top dog in the American League — at least until the voters screwed it up — and as one half of the most famous power couple in baseball. He has engaged with fans more than ever, and is actively promoting his charity for veterans, Wins for Warriors.
All that was just the tip of the iceberg, however. During his appearance on Keri’s podcast, recorded before the Cy Young awards were handed out, Verlander talked at some length about the core muscle repair injury that sent him into the wilderness for a year and a half. He revealed the full diagnosis (a bilateral sports hernia) and how it affected him mentally and physically throughout the 2014 season. He also discusses the comeback and the rediscovery of his old mechanics, which powered his dominant 2016 season.
The discussion ranges across a host of topics. Verlander reveals his thoughts on how he has managed to throw so hard for so much longer than most. He talks conditioning, cars, charitable endeavors, his upbringing, and the innate competitiveness that drives him. There’s also his assessment as to why so many young pitchers get hurt. It’s well worth a listen.