Justin Verlander to make spring debut on Thursday

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Tigers ace Justin Verlander underwent surgery in January after injuring a groin muscle during offseason conditioning and there was talk that he might have to miss a couple regular season starts. But everything appears to be on the right track here in early March.

According to beat writer Tom Gage of the Detroit News, Verlander made it through his final bullpen tune-up on Sunday without any physical issues and has been cleared to make his Grapefruit League debut on Thursday afternoon in Lakeland, Florida against the visiting Phillies.

“Then we’ll go from there, just like anyone else,” new Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told reporters on Sunday in Lakeland. “The feeling from the get-go is that, because of the shape he keeps himself in, this was a guy that might have the ability to be back in time for the start of the regular season.”

Verlander, 30, posted a 3.46 ERA and 217 strikeouts across 218 1/3 innings last season for Detroit.

He should be on the mound when the Tigers open their 2014 campaign March 31 against the Royals.

Braves place Sean Newcomb on concussion injured list

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The Atlanta Braves placed pitcher Sean Newcomb on the seven-day concussion list retroactive to Tuesday.

Newcomb was hit in the back of the head by a 102 m.p.h. line drive off the bat of J.T. Realmuto on Saturday night. The ball hit him so hard that it ricocheted to the screen behind the Phillies dugout. Despite that, Newcomb passed post-incident concussion tests and said he felt fine. It can take a little bit for concussion symptoms to become apparent, however, and that’s likely what happened here.

The Braves called up right-hander Huascar Ynoa from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Newcomb’s place on the roster.