Reports out of Tigertown is that Justin Verlander has put on 20 lbs of muscle this off season and is out to prove that 2014 was a fluke. At this point last year Verlander was only 1 month removed from core muscle surgery. He was still in recovery mode, not even starting his preseason pitching work out. From what I have heard, core muscle surgery can take up to a year to recover from, and last year seemed obvious that Verlander was in recovery mode all season. He posted the worst era of his career, 4.54 ERA, while seeing his strike outs drop and the velocity of his fastball suffer all season long. His off speed pitches didn’t suffer a drop off in velocity through the season, so it seems evident that not having a 93-94 mph fastball in his arsenal hurt him through out the year.
I remember Verlander never making excuses last year for his poor performance, but just going out there and gutting it out every game. He kept fighting his way through an outing. Making adjustments every inning, every game to try and keep his team competitive.
This off season is though is much different from ones in the past. He has something to prove and wants to prove that he is still one of the best pitchers in the game. Not only has he added the 20 lbs of muscle, but he is already throwing two bullpen sessions a day.
“Last year I hadn’t even picked up a ball at this point,” he said Friday after throwing his second session of the week.
With Verlander ahead of schedule and determined to return to the Verlander of old, David Price feeling comfortable and confident this season, and Anibal Sanchez ready to go, the Tigers could have one of the best 1, 2, 3 in the game.