Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski allowed for the possibility that right-hander Justin Verlander won't be ready to pitch at the start of the 2014 season. Verlander had surgery to repair a core muscle two weeks ago and, at the time, the Tigers attempted to be optimistic that it wouldn't delay him in spring training or for opening day. Shortly after the announcement that Verlander had surgery, Dombrowski said this:
“We fully anticipate Justin to participate in spring training and be in a position to compete at the beginning of the 2014 season."
Even though Dombrowski chose his words carefully there, his message Thursday wasn't as nakedly optimistic when quoted by MLive:
[Dombrowski] did leave open the possibility that Verlander will not be ready to pitch when the season opens March 31.
"He's doing great," Dombrowski said. "I'm not concerned for him being out an extended period. If he misses any time of the season, it would only be a very short time period. I'm not ready to say that he will. But he's doing very well."
So he might miss time, but not a significant amount. It's a slightly different message that might end up meaning the same thing Dombrowski said in the first place.
Dombrowski says he's been told Verlander might start "movement drills" next week. How he reacts and progresses from there will give the Tigers a clearer picture on when they can expect him back for sure.
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