An MRI brought good results for the Tigers’ Justin Verlander, whose shoulder has suffered “no major structural damage,” according to manager Brad Ausmus (via a tweet from Chris Iott of MLive.com). Some relatively minor inflammation was identified, which will require some rest and at least one missed start, but a DL stint is unlikely at this time.
In sum, the news was positive both for the team’s efforts to re-take the AL Central and the long-term return on Verlander’s massive contract. Though he has not been himself this year, with a 4.76 ERA and just 6.7 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 (after yesterday’s brutal one winning of work), Verlander has still been a workhorse with 158 2/3 innings pitched. And Detroit will no doubt be relieved that it can expect to feed him innings rather than relying on unproven youngsters or being forced to go back to the trade market.
Verlander has tossed at least 200 frames a season every year since 2007, avoiding any time on the DL along the way, and it will be remarkable if he can yet again steer clear of going inactive. The absence of structural issues with his shoulder would seem to rule out some of the worst-case scenarios. Performance issues remain, however, as Verlander has not produced the results or peripherals of a pitcher who is guaranteed $140MM after the year.