Justin Verlander has avoided the disabled list and expects to start Saturday

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After seeking a second opinion on his sore shoulder Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander has avoided a trip to the disabled list and is now expected to start Saturday against the Twins.

Verlander, who left his August 11 start after one ugly inning and revealed afterward that he’s been dealing with shoulder problems for much of the season, has been playing catch and long-tossing to test the injury.

David Adler of MLB.com reports that the Tigers training staff has diagnosed Verlander with “shoulder capsulitis, biceps tendinosis, and some tendinitis” in his inflamed shoulder. And all of that has been characterized by both Verlander and the team as natural “wear and tear” for a pitcher with as much mileage on his arm as the 31-year-old former MVP and Cy Young winner.

Saturday we’ll find out if 12 days off does the trick. Dating back to mid-May he has a 5.85 ERA in 17 starts, including an ERA higher than 4.50 in May, June, July, and August.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.