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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Keep calm: It's just a blister on JV's thumb

DETROIT — Breathe. Keep calm.

When Justin Verlander left Thursday’s game against Kansas City earlier than normal, and — gasp — with an injury, you could hear an entire Detroit Tigers fan base sucking in air and holding it.

Relax. It’s just a blister on his thumb.

Won’t even affect him for his next start ... right?

“C’mon. Yeah, it’s not that big of an issue,” Verlander said. “That’s why I got out of there. To be able to make my next start and the one after and not create something that I have to deal with for a month.”

It’s something he’s dealt with before, and something he’ll likely deal with again.

Not worth losing any sleep over.

“I wouldn’t think so. They can do wonders with those things now. They put stuff on there, hardens up pretty quick, things of that nature,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “I mean, I don’t think it’s going to be. The thing you worry about that is if it breaks open or something again. He’s had this in the past, and it hasn’t been a problem.”

Verlander noticed the blister had first developed toward the end of his last start, in Anaheim. It started getting worse around the fifth inning of Thursday’s start, and — by the seventh — he sat down with pitching coach Jeff Jones to talk about it.

“At this point in the year, there’s no point in creating something that could become a nagging issue. We made the decision to call it a day,” said Verlander, who didn’t know how long he could go with it. “I was kind of on the fence, and that’s why I talked to Jeff (Jones) about it. It was becoming a little bit painful, but it wasn’t like a huge gash, or anything. But at the same time, that’s what you don’t want it to turn into.”

After he left the game, the bullpen allowed six runs over the final three innings, handing Verlander (2-2) his first no-decision of the season.

In retrospect, he was asked, did it frustrate him that he’d had to come out?

“Well, it’s frustrating that we lost. I’m not going to sit here and second-guess myself or Jeff for the decision we came to,” he said. “We thought it was the right call, and I think one of the things you’ve gotta do in this game is have faith in your teammates, and if that’s the right decision, it’s the right decision, and you’ve gotta have faith in the guys coming in behind you to do the job. Tonight, we weren’t able to do it. But that’s not to say I have any less faith in those guys the next time.”

SHORT HOPSThe Miami Marlins claimed left-handed pitcher Duane Below off waivers Thursday from the Tigers. Detroit had designated Below for assignment on Wednesday, to make room for Jose Valverde on the 40-man roster. ... Avisail Garcia joined Class A Lakeland to begin a rehab assigment. He’s been out since March 22 after injuring his right heel stepping awkwardly on first base. ... Verlander's third strikeout of the day gave the Tigers 191 as a staff, surpassing last year's modern era club record for April strikeouts. ... Miguel Cabrera picked up his 20th RBI in the first inning, making he and Prince Fielder the first pair of Tigers hitters to both have 20-plus RBI in April since Tony Clark (27) and Travis Fryman (21) in 1997.


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