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Detroit Tigers News: Jordan Zimmermann rolls while Drew VerHagen deals with ‘dead arm’

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We’re halfway to Opening Day and only Zimmermann is looking good. Eh boy.

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Jordan Zimmermann put together a third consecutive strong outing on Thursday, setting down 12 hitters in a row at one point. He also racked up six punchouts, though the Tigers went on to lose 3-1 to a Philadelphia Phillies squad. The veteran right-hander appears right on track to be the Tigers’ Opening Day starter.

Zimmermann came into camp without any pressing injury issues for the first time in years, as Anthony Fenech of The Detroit Free Press reported recently. He was also working hard on developing his changeup, which would certainly be an interesting addition to his arsenal. Of course we can trace, “Jordan Zimmermann is working on his changeup,” stories back to 2013, with little to show for them. In the end, when Zimmermann has been healthy and had his good slider, he’s generally been effective, despite a dismal tour thus far in a Tigers’ uniform. It’s keeping injury free that has been the issue.

VerHagen shut down with arm trouble

Drew VerHagen isn’t injured, per se, but according to Tigers’ pitching coach, Rick Anderson, the rangy reliever is dealing with the dreaded “dead-arm syndrome.” VerHagen, who had thoracic outlet surgery back in 2016, is due for some testing, and the team doesn’t seem to want to get into the subject until they know more. So far, he’s been solid early in Grapefruit League action, and looked bound for a late innings role in the bullpen. A decidedly lifeless performance on Wednesday sparked concerns, however, and now we’ll have to wait for news. Hopefully it’s just a minor setback.

Cash rules everything around us

In a move to support a new partner, MLB announced on Thursday that game lineups must now be submitted internally to the league 15 minutes before any public announcement is made. The move allows the league’s new partner, MGM, to get the information and set final gambling lines for games without the information being tipped in advance. While expected, it’s the first signal of ways in which legalized sports betting is going to have to be accommodated by the league.

The agreement, signed back in November, calls for MLB to supply Trackman and other data to MGM for oddsmaking purposes. In return, the MLB brand will be featured at MGM’s sports books and in their advertising. The deal made Major League Baseball the third major sport partnering with MGM, following in the wake of similar deals with the NHL and the NBA.

Around the horn

Craig Edwards looks at which teams will carry the most dead money on their payroll in 2019. Paul Sporer tries to identify the next Josh Hader for your fantasy team. Zach Kram tries to assemble a superteam of AL Central players capable of de-throning the Cleveland Indians. The results are depressing. Ben Lindbergh at the Ringer got access to an archive of past Cincinnati Reds’ scouting reports and was able to judge them with hindsight. The two-part series is pretty interesting. Lindbergh also announced that FanGraphs’ managing editor, Meg Rowley, and former co-host, Sam Miller, will join the beloved Effectively Wild podcast as co-hosts.

Baseball is awesome

Joe Jimenez is a master at holding a lot of baseballs in one hand.

My kingdom for a great submariner.