ARLINGTON -- Justin Verlander is well aware where his starts fall in the Tigers' schedule. He knows his last start before the All-Star break is scheduled to come next Wednesday, six days before the All-Star Game in Kansas City.
Still, he insists, he isn't thinking about possibly starting in the Midsummer Classic, not yet anyway. There are too many deserving candidates in the American League this year, he said, to worry about it beforehand.
He's being that formal about it.
"Once I find out if I'm going or not," he said, "then it'll be on my mind. But yeah, it would be an honor. I've never done it before."
He pitched an inning in relief in the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim, but he has never started one.
Verlander went to last year's Midsummer Classic, but didn't pitch because he had started the Tigers' final game before the break two days earlier. He took in the festivities as more of a spectator; the only work he got in during that time was a side session in the bullpen at Chase Field.
This year, short of starting Verlander on short rest, there's no way for the Tigers to tweak the rotation to get him the last start before the break and the first start after.
"It's definitely different, a little bit more serious," he said of going to the All-Star Game knowing he's available to pitch. "It's more fun, but it does mean something. You definitely want to get guys out."
Valverde declares himself 'OK' after wrist sprain
ARLINGTON -- Jose Valverde pronounced himself ready to go as needed Monday afternoon as he sat in the visiting clubhouse at The Ballpark in Arlington. With that, the Tigers' bullpen was back at full strength.
Valverde hasn't pitched in more than a week. He was preparing to pitch last Tuesday night against the Cardinals when he sprained his wrist on a warmup pitch in the bullpen and had to stop throwing.
Valverde said he threw an eight-minute bullpen session Sunday and felt fine.
"I'm OK for today," Valverde said Monday afternoon. "It's a little sore, but I'll be OK."
Valverde was available and warming up in the eighth inning of Monday's 8-2 win, but manager Jim Leyland decided to hold him out once he went to Joaquin Benoit, preferring to keep Valverde fresh for Tuesday.
Smyly turns to secret remedy to heal blister
ARLINGTON -- Drew Smyly grew up in Arkansas and lives in Dallas, so he knows about pitching in heat. The forecast highs of 105-108 degrees here for Tuesday don't scare him as he anticipates his first start in 16 days.
However, when he went on the disabled list two weeks ago, he said his blister problems seem to pop up with heat and humidity. He doesn't think it'll be an issue this time, because he has taken extra precaution to treat the left index finger where the blister popped.
He has tried the old pickle juice recipe that Nolan Ryan made famous. He has another treatment courtesy of Class A Lakeland athletic trainer Corey Tremble: He puts his hand into a bag of rice.
Yes, rice -- brown, to be exact.
"You just put your hand in it, rub it around your fingers," Smyly said. "It worked really well [last year], so I've stuck with it. I mean, it helps a lot. But my finger's fine, so I'm not worried about it right now."
Tigers dealing with triple-digit Texas temperatures
ARLINGTON -- As if the pressure to get rolling again wasn't enough heat on the Tigers, they arrived in Texas to the midsummer heat wave. It was enough to make the steamy days in Detroit earlier this summer seem mild by comparison.
Monday's first-pitch temperature was 100 degrees. Tuesday's high temperature is forecast to reach somewhere between 105 and 108. Temperatures should stay in the triple digits for Wednesday's series finale.
Add it up, and the salvation for the Tigers is that it's only a three-game series.
The Tigers took batting practice Monday but told their hitters to only be outside when their group was hitting and head back into the clubhouse otherwise. They did not take any infield ground balls or shag flies.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.