8/20/2014 7:15 P.M. ET
Verlander expects to start Saturday vs. Twins
Right-hander will work one half of the scheduled twin bill barring setbacks
By David Adler / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander expects to avoid going on the disabled list and start on Saturday against the Twins.
"I would say [the likelihood is] 'strong' to 'quite strong,'" Verlander said before Wednesday's game against the Rays. "I plan on starting. I think 'penciled in' is fair to say. There's always an eraser, but in my plan there is none. I'm gonna start on Saturday, especially if everything continues to go the way it has been."
Verlander long-tossed at Tropicana Field on Wednesday afternoon, the next step toward returning from the right shoulder inflammation that caused him to miss his last start. Barring an unforeseen setback, Verlander will throw a light bullpen session on Thursday before starting one of the games of a doubleheader in Minnesota.
Manager Brad Ausmus said he would likely give Verlander the choice of which game he wanted to start if everything goes according to plan and the righty ends up ready to go.
Verlander said he felt much better on Wednesday even more than he did on Tuesday, which he had said was the first day he was able to properly loosen up his shoulder after throwing from 60 feet.
"Yesterday was light catch just to kind of get everything moving again, and today I backed it up, stretched it out a little bit and started to work the kinks out," Verlander said. "Today felt better, and I suspect tomorrow should feel even better than today. And today was positive."
Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand confirmed on Wednesday that the specifics of Verlander's inflammation involved shoulder capsulitis, biceps tendinosis and some tendinitis. Verlander and Rand said that's all natural wear-and-tear for a power pitcher who's been in the Majors as long as the right-hander.
Verlander said he thinks the inflammation might have resulted from his arm not staying aligned with the rest of his body when pitching, leading to overcompensation and stress on his shoulder. But he doesn't expect it to be a problem going forward.
"I'm hoping that it's something that I won't have to deal with the rest of the year," Verlander said.
Farmer will get call to start in Minny twin bill
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tigers will recall right-handed pitcher Buck Farmer from Triple-A Toledo to start one half of their doubleheader on Saturday against the Twins, manager Brad Ausmus said on Wednesday.
The specific game that Farmer will start has not been determined -- it will likely depend on whether Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) is ready to go, as he expects to be. If Verlander pitches, Ausmus said he will likely give the veteran preference as to which game he starts, leaving Farmer to fill the other slot.
Farmer, a fifth-round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Georgia Tech, pitched most of the season at Class A West Michigan before being called up for his Major League debut in a spot start on Aug. 13. He threw five innings and gave up four runs in Detroit's 8-4 win over the Pirates.
Farmer was sent back down to Triple-A, where he was shelled in his debut for the Mud Hens on Monday, allowing eight runs (seven earned) in just one-third of an inning before being pulled.
"Obviously, we're not happy about it, but he pitched all right for us," Ausmus said. "We've got to have somebody pitch."
Ausmus said the team did not heavily consider any other candidates for Saturday.
"I know it was a bad outing, but still, it was just one outing," he said. "Hopefully it's an aberration."
Soreness part of process for Soria's recovery
ST. PETERSBURG -- Tigers reliever Joakim Soria, who experienced soreness in the strained left oblique that landed him on the 15-day disabled list after a throwing session on Tuesday, said on Wednesday that the soreness was not a setback to his recovery.
"It was a test. It was early in my rehab. It was just a test to see where we're at," Soria said. "It would be better if I didn't feel anything. But it's part of the rehab, it's part of the process, and we're going in a good direction."
Soria did not throw on Wednesday, and said he couldn't predict when he would throw next.
"I don't know for sure," he said. "These type of injuries, it's a little tough to say. You just go day by day."
Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said that the signs from the right-hander's throwing session were, in fact, positive.
"It was designed to find out where in that process he was as far as his delivery," Rand said. "He had been doing very well, and we took him out basically to just have him play catch to kind of assess and give us a feel for where he was at -- which was really good ... He's progressing."
Rand said that with Minor League seasons winding down, it can become difficult to find innings and at-bats for rehabbing big leaguers. So it's possible, Soria, or other Tigers on the mend, could throw or bat in simulated games with the Major League club down the stretch.
• Ausmus said the team has not discussed potential callups for when rosters expand from 25 to 40 players on Sept. 1. He said those discussions will likely begin when the team returns to Detroit.
• Outfielder Andy Dirks, who re-injured his left hamstring during his rehab from back surgery, has been shut down for the immediate future, Rand said on Wednesday. MRI results on Dirks' hamstring showed a Grade 1 and partial Grade 2 hamstring strain, which will come with at least a 2-4 week recovery time, and in all likelihood ending his 2014 season.
• Right-handed pitcher Luke Putkonen, who is on the 60-day DL after surgery on a bone spur in his pitching elbow, was in the Tigers' clubhouse on Wednesday. Rand said Putkonen threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday and has been progressing well.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.