Justin Verlander has put on “20 pounds of muscle” this offseason

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Justin Verlander turned in a disappointing 4.54 ERA across 32 starts last season while seeing alarming drops in strikeouts and velocity. He’s determined to rebound in 2015.

According to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, Verlander has put on “20 pounds of muscle” this offseason (BSOHL candidate, maybe?) and is already throwing two bullpen sessions a week. He’s well ahead of where he was at this time last year, as he was a month removed from core muscle repair surgery and just getting back to his conditioning and weight training routines. It’s believed that the core muscle issues impacted his right shoulder, which caused him to change his throwing mechanics.

“Last year I hadn’t even picked up a ball at this point,” he said Friday after throwing his second session of the week.

Who knows if we’ll see something closer to vintage Verlander this season. He’s going into his age-32 season and his velocity has trended down for a while now, so we could be witnessing the new normal. But it’s at least encouraging to hear that he’s feeling good and ahead of where he was a year ago.

Verlander is owed $140 million over the next five seasons.