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Brad Ausmus says Justin Verlander will start for Tigers on Opening Day

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It’s a little early for this sort of thing, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was asked the question and gave the obvious answer Tuesday at spring training in Lakeland, Florida.

Justin Verlander will take the mound for the Tigers on Opening Day, April 5 against the Marlins. Ausmus only qualified his selection of Verlander with a “barring something unforeseen.”

Verlander got off to a late start in 2015, but he registered a cool 3.38 ERA and 1.09 WHIP across 133 1/3 innings after debuting in mid-June. It was the first time since 2006 that the veteran right-hander had not reached the 200-inning plateau.

Verlander, 33 next week, is owed $28 million per year over the next four years.