UPDATE: MRI was negative, sounds like a grade 1 strain putting him at 1-2 weeks RTP.
Justin Verlander was removed in the second inning of a start against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday due to a tight right groin for “precautionary” reasons, the Detroit Tigers announced. The team has not indicated that the minor injury will require a stint on the disabled list.
“It sounds mild so it sounds like a grade one groin strain,” Fantasy Doctor Dr. Jesse Morse M.D. said. “Depending on how he is feeling in the next couple days they could end up performing an MRI, expect him to be out one to two weeks if it is grade one.”
Verlander is in danger of missing his next start and possibly more. The team’s ace may now be Michael Fulmer, but Verlander is still putting up decent numbers. The 34-year-old has a 4.50 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 68 innings pitched in 2017. Fantasy owners should sit tight and ride out the start or two he is expected to miss.
The Verlander injury puts the team’s pitching rotation into a true game of musical chairs. The Tigers know they are starting Daniel Norris on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels, but have not announced any starters after that.
Buck Farmer was controversially demoted to Triple-A earlier this week following an 11-strikeout performance. The team has yet to make any official moves yet, but the Tigers just do not have enough starting pitchers to make an excuse to keep Farmer in Triple-A any longer. However, the team has made no indication on who will ask to start in place of Verlander in his next scheduled start in Boston if he is not ready.
Warwick Saupold relieved Verlander to start the third inning on Sunday. He boasts a 2-0 record and a 2.90 ERA in seven starts with the Tiger’s Triple-A team this season. He has spent portions of the season in Detroit, but mainly being used out of the bullpen for long-relief situations. He has 10 strikeouts in 10.2 innings while donning a 2.93 ERA for the Tigers this season.
Verlander may not even end up missing a start, but Farmer and Saupold are looking like the top candidates to fill the many wholes currently residing in the team’s pitching rotation in the meantime. But either pitcher needs more solid starts to be worth rostering in fantasy leagues.