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McCann getting close; Verlander on track

Tigers righty throws off flat ground, will test groin Thursday on mound
MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- The Tigers expect to have James McCann back on their roster Friday at Boston. With no shortage of left-handers in the Red Sox's rotation, he's likely to see a decent amount of time behind the plate upon his return.

Whether he catches Justin Verlander while he's there remains to be seen.

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DETROIT -- The Tigers expect to have James McCann back on their roster Friday at Boston. With no shortage of left-handers in the Red Sox's rotation, he's likely to see a decent amount of time behind the plate upon his return.

Whether he catches Justin Verlander while he's there remains to be seen.

View Full Game Coverage

McCann, who went on the 10-day disabled list a week and a half ago after a left hand bruise opened up on a hit-by-pitch at Houston, played his second rehab game Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday, going 4-for-4 with three RBIs while catching all nine innings. He's expected to return to Detroit on Thursday, but not be active for that afternoon's game against the Angels.

Video: CWS@DET: Verlander exits game in the 3rd inning

The return move hasn't been announced, but catcher John Hicks would seem to be the odd man out. Hicks is batting .313 (15-for-48) with three homers and 12 RBIs in two stints this season, though he entered Wednesday's game having gone 4-for-22 with two homers, five RBIs and eight strikeouts since McCann went on the DL.

McCann is batting .204 (22-for-108) with seven homers and 17 RBIs this season, but his defense and game-calling with pitchers make him part of the Tigers' mix.

Hicks caught Verlander in his last start Sunday against the White Sox before a sore groin forced the righty out of the game. Whether Verlander pitches this weekend in Boston depends on how his groin feels when he throws his between-starts mound session Thursday.

Verlander threw off flat ground Wednesday afternoon. For now, Ausmus said the veteran remains on track to make his turn in the rotation.

The Tigers need Verlander or a replacement Saturday. Though the Tigers haven't named a starter for any game against the Red Sox, Jordan Zimmermann threw his side session Wednesday, which puts him in line for Friday's series opener.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers, James McCann, Justin Verlander