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Ausmus, Jones working alongside struggling Verlander

DETROIT -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus had his share of struggling pitchers to handle over 17 years as a Major League catcher. He's now directly involved in the ongoing process to get Justin Verlander back to an effective form.

For the most part, Ausmus has left the business of tweaks and adjustments with Verlander to pitching coach Jeff Jones, who has worked with him to some degree since 2007. After Verlander allowed seven runs on 12 hits over six innings with help from badly located fastballs in his last outing, Ausmus provided another set of eyes on the matter.

Ausmus joined Jones and Verlander in the Tigers' video room Tuesday, looking over footage from his last two seasons of starts to try to detect what's different in his delivery now.

"All three of us looked at video together," Ausmus said Tuesday afternoon. "As a catcher, I've seen pitchers go through those types of things. Mechanically, I understand what's being talked about, what can go wrong. So I actively joined those two."

The video sessions are nothing new, but they're the first Verlander has had in a little while. At some point this season, Jones said they had agreed to take some time off of video work to avoid the risk of over-tweaking. Monday's outing brought them back.

And while it sounds familiar, Ausmus believes they found some adjustments to make.

"We definitely saw something different between a couple years ago and yesterday," Ausmus said.

Ausmus wouldn't specify, but said the difference is "easily correctable."

Ausmus has been consistent in saying it's not a velocity issue, but command. He also doesn't believe it's the start of a long-term transition for Verlander as he enters the back half of his career.

"I think that's premature," Ausmus said. "I don't think he needs to reinvent himself. I don't think he needs to start throwing a knuckleball. We're talking about a guy who still throws 96. He hit 98 a few times in Chicago. We're not talking about someone who's gone from throwing 100 to 91. This guy still has it in him. I don't think he's at the point where he needs to reassess his approach to getting hitters out that drastically."

Jason Beck is a reporter for Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for
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