Mar 11, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) walks to the dugout with catcher Bryan Holaday (50) before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers Links: Justin Verlander strong, no savings on Coke & a possible outfield disaster


What Justin Verlander’s Post-Surgery Debut Told Us About His Health – Joe Giglio, Bleacher Report

After surgery, a difficult season and admitted struggles with mechanics, Izturis’ at-bat was the moment where a rusty Verlander could have been expected to falter, leaving a pitch over the plate and allowing an extra-base hit.

When it didn’t occur, Verlander’s successful day was all but done.

There are still major hurdles for Verlander to clear in order to become the consistent and dominant starter of old. If the mechanics of today can’t be repeated during his next start, concern will arise. If soreness or comfort issues return before Opening Day, the Tigers’ perch atop the AL Central will be in question.

It was encouraging that Justin Verlander had a vintage JV-style start on Tuesday. Not only because it was his first action against opposing hitters, but also because he got knocked around pretty good last Spring Training. Many brushed those performances off as “just Spring Training,” but it carried over to the regular season, and Verlander had his worst season since 2008. At least from the first small sample, Justin looks more like the 2013 playoff Justin than 2013 regular season Justin.

Detroit Tigers’ hard-throwing Evan Reed bidding for bullpen role – Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press

And in Sunday’s 3-1 win over the Miami Marlins, Reed’s velocity and his breaking ball were on full display when he baffled hitters for two innings, allowing no hits while striking out two.

“He threw well again today, threw a couple of good change-ups to left-handed hitters,” Ausmus said. “Got that 95- to 97-m.p.h. fastball, and hitters have to honor that. They’re going to have to start their AB a little early. He’s certainly done his job in terms of making himself noticed.”

The Tigers are in a tough spot with Reed. Out of options, he either makes the team or gets put on waivers and will almost certainly be claimed. It’s a good thing that through his strong spring thus far, Reed doesn’t seem to be forcing their hand.

Expect left-hander Phil Coke to stick with Detroit Tigers beyond Wednesday deadline – Chris Iott, MLive

The Detroit Tigers waived Brennan Boesch in the middle of March last spring so they would be on the hook for just one-sixth of his salary. Could Phil Coke meet with the same fate in mid-March of 2014?

If he does, you will find out by Wednesday, which is the deadline for the Tigers to make the move and be off the hook for the vast majority of the $1.9 million salary Coke is due this season. If they were to waive him by the deadline, they would owe him about $320,000 of that $1.9 million.

But it seems very likely that Coke will stick around for a bit. Holding on to Coke for now would not significantly increase the financial risk for the Tigers. They will owe him just one-quarter of his salary — $475,000 — if he is released sometime after Wednesday but prior to opening day.

Wow. It seems a lot longer that Brennan Boesch was thrown out of TigerTown. It seems like he’s been with 15 other teams since, and some fans have mentioned his name as a replacement for Andy Dirks. As for Coke, after a couple of terrible outings, he did pretty good Tuesday, striking out two batters. But that’s nothing new for Coke, who sprinkles in a nice outing in between 2-3 lousy ones. Which is what makes him such a frustrating player.

With Andy Dirks gone, Tigers one injury from broken outfield – Cee Angi, SB Nation

The Tigers have perhaps the best hitter in baseball in Miguel Cabrera, three of the best pitchers in Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Anibal Sanchez, and yet over the last three seasons we’ve seen them lose two championship series late and get blown out of a World Series because as good as they are, they’re always just a little bit short. The little bit this time around could be left field. Sure, they could stand pat, figuring they weren’t going to get a whole lot more from Dirks and Davis together than they will from Davis alone, but if you’ve come as close as they have, taking anything for granted seems like an unsupportable act of faith. The Tigers are a Torii Hunter sneeze away from having a defunct outfield. They don’t have to make a move, but they should.

We’ve beaten this drum all off-season, the Tigers lack depth. Right now, even though Steven Moya is having an exceptional spring, it looks like Ezequiel Carrera will be the young guy that will help out during Dirks absence unless a late move/signing is made (See above: Re: Boesch).

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