Tigers' Verlander feeling sore after first start

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

It's exactly what Justin Verlander expected — extreme soreness — after making his first start of the season Saturday.

"It's like asking me to pitch in a major league game in the middle of spring training," he said. "I'd be pretty sore then, too."

Verlander threw his between-starts bullpen Monday and is scheduled to start Thursday on regular five-day rest.

"I don't want to say I expedited the process, but I wasn't going to sit there and throw five or six starts in the minor leagues when I am ready to go," Verlander said. "I knew I'd be more sore than I would normally be. But it is what it is. I have to get my body back in shape."

Verlander's first rehab start was on six days of rest, his second on seven days of rest. This will be his first start on regular five days of rest.

"Getting back into a regular routine is a hurdle, but I am excited to get back into it," he said. "I feel like I pitch my best when I get back in the rhythm of things. I like the feeling of going out there every five days."

A new wrinkle

One by-product of Verlander's extended rehab work — he's developed new action on his four-seam fastball that wasn't there last season.

"Yeah, it had some run; I like it," he said. "It's something I had in my minor league starts and my ball a few years ago had a little bit of ride on it — arm side run. He got me a little of trouble on that solo homer by (Carlos) Santana. It ran a little bit from where I wanted it.

"But I like the action I am getting on it."

Big test

Tigers lefty Kyle Ryan will have his hands full against the Reds on Tuesday. The Reds have been mashing left-handed pitching this season. They have the second highest OPS in the National League (.747) and have hit the most home runs (20) against lefties.

"Everything's got to be working, all my pitches," Ryan said. "I throw everything to everybody. They have less chance of knowing what's coming if I throw everything."

Ryan has actually had more issues against left-handed hitters than he has against righties.

"They sent me down to Toledo to basically face left-handed hitters," he said. "They wanted me to get more experience so that when I get back to the bullpen I will be more comfortable with lefty-lefty matchups."

Funny thing about that plan — he didn't face many left-handed hitters in Toledo.

"There would be stretches of four games where I'd see maybe one lefty," he said.

Around the horn

Ausmus was disappointed to hear the Padres had fired manager Bud Black Monday. "I was not happy, obviously," he said. "Buddy is a friend of mine and he does an excellent job. I've seen him in action and when you talk to players who've played for him, you never hear a bad thing. You never want to see a friend lose a job, but my gut says he's going to manage again somewhere at some point."

…The Reds were slated to start a pair of ex-Tigers Monday — shortstop Eugenio Suarez, hitting .188, and outfielder Brennan Boesch, hitting .132. Catcher Brayan Pena, another former Tiger, was not in the starting lineup.

Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky