Verlander headed to DL for 1st time in big league career

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) 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.

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