Tigers hopeful Verlander's groin injury isn't 'anything major'

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander leaves the game with trainer Kevin Rand against the White Sox in the third inning.

Detroit — Justin Verlander was at 72 pitches and he hadn’t yet got an out in the third inning on Sunday. The third inning. He needed 39 pitches to get through the first.

You knew something had to be bothering him — besides the pesky White Sox hitters who were fouling off pitch after pitch.

Trainer Kevin Rand and manager Brad Ausmus came out to check on him in the second inning.

“He told (pitching coach Rich) Dubee after the first inning that he felt something in his groin,” Ausmus said. “We were keeping an eye on him.”

Verlander’s right groin tightened up, his pitch count was off the charts, and yet, the last thing he wanted to do was leave the game in the third inning. But Ausmus did not relent.

“I thought we had to protect him a little bit,” Ausmus said. “He said he felt like he could keep pitching. But I didn’t want him out there protecting his groin and then have something else be affected, like his shoulder.

“That was my call.”

After the Tigers' 7-4 walk-off win over the White Sox, Verlander had what Ausmus called a “precautionary” MRI. The results were not immediately known.

“We don’t think it’s anything major,” Ausmus said. “We don’t expect the MRI to show anything major.”

Ausmus: Strict enforcement of 30-second clock 'uncalled for'

Ausmus said until he knew more, the expectation was for Verlander to make his next start. Though with an off-day Monday, the Tigers could push him back an extra day or two.

Even though it was a laborious two innings, Verlander managed to make some quality pitches to keep it a 2-0 game.

“He was making good pitches,” said catcher John Hicks. “The White Sox battled and made that first inning tough on him. He pitched out of some big jams and made some big pitches later in the innings.”

He struck out Tim Anderson with the bases loaded to end the first inning and Avisail Garcia, again with the bases loaded, to end the second.

After he gave up a home run to Todd Frazier and a walk to Yolmer Sanchez to start the third inning, Rand came to the mound with more conviction and Verlander was pulled for the game.

It was the fourth shortest stint of his career.