BOSTON -- Justin Verlander will take the mound at Fenway Park for Saturday night's marquee matchup against Chris Sale the Red Sox. Unless he's seriously injured, he always takes the mound.In the end, the groin injury that knocked Verlander out of Sunday's outing against the White Sox in the third
BOSTON -- Justin Verlander will take the mound at Fenway Park for Saturday night's marquee matchup against Chris Sale the Red Sox. Unless he's seriously injured, he always takes the mound.
In the end, the groin injury that knocked Verlander out of Sunday's outing against the White Sox in the third inning was not enough to sideline him. The wait to officially list him for Saturday's game was more of a precaution than anything. But he said he's a little more cautious about injuries like that now, just to get an idea what he has to watch out for.
"You're aware of it," Verlander said. "I'm probably going to be wearing one of those braces. I don't know if it helps. It'll probably keep the heat in. The biggest problem in my start the other day was in between innings, coming back out and getting it loose, also not really trusting it. But we'll see.
"I'm confident to go out there. I wouldn't do it otherwise. The last thing in the world I would want to do is re-injure myself and have to come out quickly and put our bullpen in jeopardy. Those are my two biggest concerns, but we've crossed every detail and gone over everything. It [stinks] to have to deal with something like this, but knock on wood, if you don't have to miss a start that's pretty good."
Verlander said he checked around about similar injuries and the risks and watch points of coming back. He talked with Dr. William Meyers, the specialist who did his core muscle surgery a few years ago.
The ultimate judgment, though, was how he felt in his between-starts work during the week, culminating in his bullpen session Thursday at Comerica Park and his day-before-start throwing Friday afternoon.
"I think your body will tell you when you're ready," Verlander said, "and my bullpen the other day felt pretty normal. And it didn't tighten up again after, so that's a good sign."
He returns on turn for a big matchup, a nationally-televised outing opposite longtime nemesis Sale. But he insisted that didn't play into his decision.
"This place is great," he said. "I enjoy pitching here. There's all the history. But I am happy to be able to pitch, no matter whether it's here or … I'm not going to name some other stadiums I don't like.
"It's always fun playing here. Fans are great. Ballpark's great. But I take a lot of pride in just always being out there, taking the mound. Worst year of my career when every pitch hurt, I still threw 200 innings. It's something I look back at and at least I can hang my hat on that."
That worst year was in 2014, when his shoulder was out of whack among other issues. He's more cognizant of his body and its issues since then. Right now, his body is telling him to pitch.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.