Junkballing: Injuries and Verlander’s Workload

A journey through some links that will update us on the Tigers walking wounded, that will put limits on Justin Verlander’s workload, and other odds and ends including bullpen usage and Alex Avila.


Word out of Lakeland is that Zach Miner is preparing to enter pseudo game action as part of his rehab assignment. Even with no set backs that would likely but him a couple weeks away from being ready to join the Tigers. And while the bullpen has been overworked and a fresh arm would be helpful, the bullpen has also been pretty effective.

Adam Everett is expected to be back any day now after taking batting practice yesterday. That could prove timely as Jim Leyland is still concerned about Scott Sizemore’s ankle and if he wants to spell him at second, he would have Ramon Santiago as an option with a healthy Everett manning short.

For those that were hoping to get a look at Brent Dlugach, he has cooled off at Toledo as his BABIP hasn’t been able to sustain his strikeout rate (31 K’s in 86 PA’s).

On the minor league injury front the Tigers are hopeful that Jacob Turner’s soreness is an adjustment to a pro pitching schedule and nothing ominous.

Verlander’s workload

With Justin Verlander throwing over 120 pitches in each of his last two starts and not seeing the sixth inning in either, it turned out to be a clubhouse topic yesterday. Leyland says he is going to put a limit on Verlander in his next start regardless of the inning. Verlander acknowledges that he needs to be more efficient but says pitch counts are overrated.

Verlander's Pitch Counts by Game 2009

We’ll see what happens with this limit. I’m sure that Leyland doesn’t want Verlander getting hurt on his watch, but he also had him throw over 120 pitches in 6 of his last 8 outings last season. Verlander has always proven up to the task, I just doubt that Leyland is going to reign him in too much.

The rest


  1. Dr. Detroit

    April 29, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Nice work in charting his pitch count. You can see that maybe there is a method to Leyland’s madness–Verlander’s pitch counts charted higher toward the end of the year. It’s one thing to say it, but a whole other thing to see the numbers.

    Although I agree with JV that pitch counts are for a lack of a better term, “over-rated”, the economics of baseball dictates them. For example, I am sure Sparky, even with his legendary quick hook of starters, was not worrying too much about Jack Morris’ pitch counts–from ’81 to ’83, his wins equaled the number of complete games he threw, and in fact in ’81 he won 14 games, but threw 15 complete games. But Morris never made the money JV makes or others like him.

    With sports science today you see guys like Randy Johnson throwing mid 90’s into his 40s, and guys like Lariano coming off Tommy John stronger than ever, so I think pitch counts may be over-rated too, but I see the economics of it playing a substantial role (and as an aside, Jim Riggleman will be hated in Chicago for decades because Cubbies fans believe he threw out Kerry Wood’s arm, albeit Wood was like 21 when he did this).

  2. Vince in MN

    April 29, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Zach who?

    Leyland’s comment is probably more of a psychological ploy than anything else. By making it public he puts more pressure on Verlander to stop fiddling around. I hope it works, throwing 225 pitches to get a complete game seems a tad bit much.

  3. Jeff H

    April 29, 2010 at 9:46 am

    JV’s average pitch count per IP last year was 16.40 vs 19.48 in 5 starts this year.

  4. Jim

    April 29, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    I hope he can step up and be the stopper that they are paying him to be. 5+ innings per outing isn’t worth the kinda money they are paying-no matter how many pitches it takes to get there. As good as the bullpen is doing, it will be alot to ask them to keep it up for the whole season…