Jim Leyland has joined the early Opening Day starter announcement fun, saying that he’ll go with Justin Verlander in Game 1 for the fourth consecutive year.
Leyland added that Max Scherzer will start Game 3 in order to line him up for the Tigers’ home opener, but didn’t say who’ll be getting the nod in Game 2. Rick Porcello, Phil Coke, and Brad Penny are expected to fill out the rest of the rotation.
Verlander, who’ll kick things off against the Yankees in New York on March 31, got a no-decision against the Royals on Opening Day last season while allowing four runs in five innings.
Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that the Blue Jays are considering moving starter Jaime Garcia to the bullpen. If they go that route, Sam Gaviglio would start in Garcia’s place on Sunday against the Angels.
Garcia, 31, has struggled to a 6.16 ERA with a 56/31 K/BB ratio in 61 1/3 innings over 13 starts this season. Gaviglio, meanwhile, has a 3.75 ERA with 35 striekouts and 11 walks in 36 innings across six starts and two relief appearances for the Jays this year.
Garcia inked a one-year, $10 million contract with the Jays in February. The deal includes a club option for the 2019 season worth $10 million with a $2 million buyout.