Detroit — As of Friday, Justin Verlander hadn't thrown a baseball in nine days, not since his shortened simulated game in Pittsburgh April 15.
It was exactly this type of prolonged stretch without throwing that worried Verlander when the triceps injury occurred.
"My only concern is if it would linger," he said after he left his final spring training start in Dunedin, Florida with what he thought was a cramp. "I've worked really hard on getting my mechanics and my arm action back to the way I used to throw.
"I would hate now to sit out and lose arm strength and lose everything I worked so hard to regain in the offseason."
So here we are, April 24 and the Tigers still don't know when Verlander will throw again. When the soreness didn't abate the second day after the simulated game, trainer Kevin Rand had Verlander undergo an MRI.
The MRI validated the original diagnosis — triceps strain. But Verlander's throwing program was halted and it was decided at that point he would not pick up a baseball until he was completely asymptomatic.
"The longer he doesn't throw, the longer it's going to take to come back — that is probably true," manager Brad Ausmus said. "But I can't tell you how long it's going to take him to get back because I don't know how long he's going to be (unable to throw)."
It's the worst kind of waiting game for the Tigers. The longer it takes for Verlander to be able to begin throwing, the more he loses arm strength and the longer it will take for him be ready to pitch in a major league game once the triceps is healed.
"There is no timetable," Ausmus said. "Nothing has changed with Verlander."
Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky