Earlier this month, it was revealed that Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander had to undergo core muscle surgery. The thought was that he'd be ready for the beginning of the 2014 season and that's still possible. General manager Dave Dombrowski has, however, left open the possibility that Verlander may need to miss a start or more.
"He's doing great," Dombrowski said (MLive.com). "I'm not concerned for him being out an extended period. If he misses any time of the season, it would only be a very short time period. I'm not ready to say that he will. But he's doing very well."
Initially, the Tigers said that Verlander will be evalated after six weeks, which comes out to Feb. 20, or just shortly after pitchers and catchers report to camp. If there aren't setbacks, he may well have enough time to get back in time for the start of the season, but the possibility to miss a small handful of regular-season starts is there.
Verlander, 30, is coming off a down year in which he went 13-12 with a 3.46 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 217 strikeouts in 218 1/3 innings. He was still an All-Star but was coming off an MVP and then a runner-up finish in AL Cy Young voting.
With days off April 1, 7, 10 and 14, the Tigers probably wouldn't have a huge problem with Verlander needing to miss a few starts.