Detroit — The Tigers are still in a holding pattern regarding the status of ace Justin Verlander, but the contingencies seem to be in place.
Right-hander Drew VerHagen was scratched from his scheduled start at Toledo and would be available to pitch in Verlander’s spot on Saturday in Boston.
“There’s really nothing to report,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said after Thursday’s 11-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Verlander, who has been bothered by a tight right groin, threw a bullpen before the game. Although he politely declined to speak to the media, Verlander seemed to throw without visible discomfort.
“He felt good during the bullpen, and we’re going to see how it feels tomorrow,” Ausmus said; “We want to wait until after the 24-hour period to see how it feels. He felt good a few hours after throwing the bullpen.
“All signs are positive, but we just want to cross our T’s and dot our I’s.”
Ausmus. who monitored the bullpen, said Verlander threw 20 to 25 pitches.
“He looked completely normal,” Ausmus said. “He’s telling us how he feels, and he says he doesn’t feel it. Now, throwing a bullpen isn’t the same as getting into a game, and having to move for a ground ball, or a bunt, or picking to first.
“There’s always a little bit of unknown. We’ll just wait and see how he says he feels tomorrow.”
Ausmus said VerHagen was scratched as a precautionary move, just in case he is needed.
The Tigers will have to make at least one move before Friday’s game. They need to clear a spot for catcher James McCann, who is coming off the disabled list. Catcher John Hicks, who accompanied the team to Boston, is the likely choice to be sent back to Toledo, unless Verlander goes on the disabled list.
If that happens, Hicks could remain on the roster Friday, then the Verlander-VerHagen move would have to take place before Saturday’s game.
Ausmus wouldn’t even offer a gut feeling on the matter.
“I am on the fence,” he said.
Apparently second-base umpire Andy Fletcher hasn’t seen enough video on Tigers shortstop Dixon Machado to know how wide his range is.
In the Angels’ six-run seventh, Eric Young Jr. got a rolling, RBI single with the bases loaded on a play on which Machado’s path to the ball was blocked by baserunner C.J. Cron. The Tigers asked for an interference call, but were denied.
“I guess he knows me better than I do,” Machado said. “I am not saying it’d be a super-easy play, but I can get to it and maybe get a force at second base. But he said I had no chance to make that play.
“I just said, ‘Oh, OK.’ ”
Ausmus shook his head over it, too.
“In their determination, there was no play on the ball,” he said. “I am not so sure I agree.”
McCann caught all nine innings of his last rehab start in Toledo Wednesday night. He also got four hits and knocked in three runs. Three of the hits came off top Pirates prospect Jameson Taillon.
“Felt good,” McCann said. “Facing Taillon, he was giving me a hard time. He said, ‘You’re not supposed to be here right now.’ It was good to see an arm like that in a rehab game.”
The laceration on his left hand has been reduced to basically an open blister wound. He wears a blister pad under his batting glove without any ill effects.
“The only time I feel it is when my (catcher’s) glove rubs against it,” McCann said.
McCann doesn’t wear a batting glove inside his catcher’s mitt.
“I wanted to see how it held up and it was good,” McCann said.