Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander took what might be the final step before a rehab assignment Tuesday afternoon at Oakland’s O.co Coliseum, throwing four innings of simulated action without experiencing any discomfort in his right triceps.
According to beat writer Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, the veteran allowed zero runs on three hits and one walk. He struck out eight, but it should be noted that Verlander was facing a group of teammates and it was a pretty loose environment. He even simulated the national anthem before he began pitching, holding his cap next to his heart in front of the mound for a minute.
Verlander has been out all season with a right triceps strain, but he’s now finally trending in the right direction. If he can avoid further setbacks, the 32-year-old should be ready to make his 2015 debut in mid-to-late June.
The Twins have arguably baseball’s scariest offense. Their average of 5.87 runs per game is second only to the Yankees (5.90) while leading the league in slugging percentage (.501), OPS (.840), and home runs (244). White Sox starter Lucas Giolito made their offense look impotent on Wednesday, blanking them over nine innings for his second shutout of the season. The White Sox won 4-0.
Giolito allowed just three hits and walked none while fanning 12 batters over his nine innings of work. He’s now 14-6 with a 3.20 ERA and a 194/51 K/BB ratio in 151 2/3 innings on the season. Giolito is very much in the AL Cy Young Award picture. The Astros’ Justin Verlander leads the league in ERA at 2.81. A strong finish to the season for Giolito could certainly see his ERA dip below 3.00.
As mentioned, Wednesday’s shutout was Giolito’s second of the season. He and the Indians’ Shane Bieber are the only pitchers with multiple shutouts this season. They are two of only 21 pitchers with a shutout.