LAKELAND, Fla. — Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander is headed to the disabled list for the first time in his major league career.
The Tigers said Thursday the 32-year-old right-hander won’t be on the active roster for Monday’s opener against Minnesota because of tightness in his right triceps. He was scratched from his Thursday start and no timetable has been announced for when he will pitch again.
“I think they used the word strain,” Verlander said. “It felt like just a little cramp but, obviously, with it taking a little longer to heal, it’s probably a little bit more than that — just take it day by day.”
Verlander has been throwing lightly in an attempt to work out the tightness.
“I don’t think this is going to be a long-term issue,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “After throwing yesterday, he said he felt as good or better today.”
Detroit will make his DL stint retroactive, making it possible the six-time All-Star could start the sixth game of the season, on April 12 at Cleveland.
“If he does start on that Sunday, essentially he doesn’t miss a start,” Ausmus said.
“Obviously it’s a little more of a story because I’ve never been on the DL,” said Verlander, who has started 30 or more games in each of the last nine seasons. “At least I can take solace in the fact that I’m going on the DL to help the team.
Even if tomorrow it’s fine and I feel great, I wouldn’t be able to start until Sunday (April 12), so I’d still go on the DL because we get that extra guy and it benefits the club.”
Verlander is 28-24 in two seasons since starting a $180 million, seven-year contract, slowed by core muscle surgery before the 2014 season. Winner of the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Awards, Verlander was 124-65 before the deal.
“I don’t think I’m going to lose anything moving forward. It’s not like I’m going to come back after taking off for a few days and it’s not there anymore,” he said. “There’s no point in pushing it too hard to be ready for day one, especially if that sacrifices the long haul. This team needs me for six months, not one start.”
Detroit said reliever Bruce Rondon also will start the season on the DL because of tendinitis in his right shoulder.
DECISION ON HAMILTON LIKELY AFTER OPENER: Commissioner Rob Manfred says a decision on possible discipline against Los Angeles Angels star Josh Hamilton likely will happen after opening day.
Manfred had been hoping for a decision before the Angels start play Monday at Seattle.
“I think that we’ll have something on Hamilton in relatively short order — probably has been a little slower just because he’s not available to play,” Manfred said Wednesday on SiriusXM radio.
Asked whether it would be before opening day, Manfred responded: “shortly after, probably.”
Hamilton has had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse, and has been suspended in the past. The Angels said Hamilton met with baseball officials last month, but neither side provided details on the reason for the session.
He is recovering from shoulder surgery and his status for opening day was in jeopardy even before the meeting with MLB.
Hamilton is going into the third season of a $125 million, five-year contract with the Angels. The 33-year-old outfielder has 31 homers and 123 RBIs in two injury-interrupted seasons.
P VIZCAINO SUSPENDED 80 GAMES: Braves pitcher Arodys Vizcaino has been suspended 80 games following a positive test for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.
The suspension was announced by Major League Baseball on Thursday, three days after the Braves optioned the 24-year-old right-hander to Triple-A Gwinnett. He was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in November for second baseman Tommy La Stella.
Atlanta first obtained Vizcaino from the New York Yankees in 2009. In 2012, he had Tommy John surgery and was traded to the Cubs.
The hard-throwing Vizcaino appeared in five games with the Cubs last September. He has been in 22 big league games.
He will lose about $85,000 of his salary during the suspension. His one-year contract calls for $195,031 in the minors and $515,000 in the majors.
Vizcaino is the second player suspended this year under the major league program. Seattle pitcher David Rollins also was suspended 80 games following a positive test for Stanozolol.