It's somewhat of a mystery at the moment, but Drew VerHagen has been placed on the seven-day disabled list by the Toledo Mud Hens. He was put on the DL to make room for left-handed pitcher Matt Crouse, who is subbing for lefty Matt Boyd, who is in limbo waiting to see whether he'll be sent to California for a spot start with the Detroit Tigers.
VerHagen is traveling to Detroit to meet with the Tigers' team doctor, Stephen Lemos, for an MRI and an evaluation. With VerHagen's back issues in the past, that's the first issue that comes to mind as a possibility, but Tigers general manager Al Avila confirmed via text on Thursday morning that the DL stint is not related to VerHagen's back.
However, Avila isn't willing to discuss VerHagen's injury beyond that at this point, as the Tigers are waiting to hear back from Lemos first. VerHagen struggled on several occasions while with the Tigers this year, and after his May 22 outing where he gave up two runs on three hits, the team optioned him to Triple-A to work on his command.
After being sent to Toledo, VerHagen didn't pitch again until Wednesday night. He faced three batters and got two outs. The other was a hit, but it was a solo home run. It's the day after that outing and he's now been placed on the DL. Judging by his track record since April 24, VerHagen's arm hasn't been the same.
VerHagen's performance with the Tigers through April 22 was solid. He'd given up just three runs on five hits in one outing on April 14, scattering just five hits total with no home runs allowed in his other appearances -- spanning nine games.
But from April 24 until he was sent to Toledo, VerHagen gave up three home runs, 12 runs, walked four, and gave up 18 hits in 10 games played. He gave up two-or-more runs in three of the five outings in which he gave up runs.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus acknowledged that the righty has had trouble with finding the strike zone of late. One need look no further than his 9.82 ERA in that time frame to confirm that's been the case. Until results come back from the MRI, though, there's no way to know whether VerHagen's injury is pitching-related.