If the Tigers win the next two games in Texas and reach the World Series, they will have done it without Justin Verlander.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Tigers manager Jim Leyland just confirmed that Verlander will not pitch again during the ALCS. Some speculated that he could be available for a relief appearance in a potential Game 7 tomorrow night, but Leyland is committed to resting him after he threw a career-high 133 pitches in a Game 5 victory on Thursday.
“If you see Verlander pitch again this season, it’ll be a good thing, because it’ll be in the World Series.”
While Verlander has been ruled out, Game 4 starter Rick Porcello is available out of the bullpen tonight. Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde, who were rested on Thursday, are also available.
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.