Just six days ago, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said he was upbeat about Verlander's progress from an injury sustained on March 27th. Earlier today however, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand announced that he'd recently undergone an MRI.
According to Kevin Rand, the results of the MRI exam showed the same diagnosis for Justin Verlander: Strained right triceps.— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) April 20, 2015
Rand said that the team didn't initially send Verlander for an MRI because they didn't think his injury required one. However with the lack of progress in his rehab, and the persistent soreness in his shoulder, the team felt it was necessary to send Verlander for tests.
While everyone was originally optimistic that he'd miss only his first start, he has now missed three. There is currently no timetable for when he'll start throwing again, putting his debut even further up in the air. For the time being, Kyle Lobstein is the Tigers fifth starter, and will remain in that role until further notice.
If Verlander is out for significant time, Dombrowksi may have to go searching for a starting pitcher, as Lobstein isn't a permanent solution. Fortunately for the Tigers, they own MLB's best record at 10-2, and can afford to take some time on this issue. After a disappointing 2014 campaign, the Tigers need to make sure that Verlander is 100% healthy before he returns to game action.
Bruce Rondon closer to returning
Today wasn't all bad for the Tigers however, as they received good news about their injured reliever Bruce Rondon.
#Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon threw long toss today from 150 feet. Expected to start throwing bullpens later this week, possibly tomorrow.— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) April 20, 2015
Rondon hasn't seen big league action since 2013, and missed the entire 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery. Early in the 2015 season, the Tigers bullpen owns the fourth best FIP in baseball; a stark contrast from owning the 4th worst just a year ago. Because of this, there's no reason to rush Rondon back to game action, and the club can ease him in slowly.