Astros 7, Tigers 2
While many players are saying spring training this year is too
long because of the World Baseball Classic, Tigers ace Justin
Verlander is happy to have more time.
Verlander allowed three homers and four runs while pitching into
the sixth inning Thursday of the Tigers’ 7-2 loss to the Houston
The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner had yielded nine runs
in his last two starts against major league competition.
”My slider’s not anywhere near where it needs to be,”
Verlander said. ”I must need to work on it and get a feel for
Verlander, however, wasn’t concerned that his spring training
ERA rose to 4.74. He has one more spring start before opening up
the regular season in Minnesota.
Houston Astros starter Lucas Harrell, who will follow Bud Norris
in the rotation, allowed two runs in five innings and walked
”I was struggling,” Harrell said. ”But I felt like every time
I needed to make a pitch, I made it. Everything feels fine but
there are times I need to fight through certain situations. Tonight
was one of them.”
Astros manager Bo Porter said Harrell was rounding into shape as
he tries to fill out the rest of the Astros staff. Besides Norris
and Harrell, along with No. 3 starter Phillip Humber, Porter still
has heavy competition for the final two spots. Brad Peacock, one of
the candidates, pitched the final three innings, striking out five
and allowing only two hits.
Porter said Erik Bedard, Alex White, and Edgar Gonzalez are also
fighting for the last two spots.
”(Harrell) did a good job considering he didn’t have his best
stuff,” Porter said. ”He ran into patches where he had some
trouble, but he got out of it. I liked that.”
Porter also liked the two home runs that catcher Carlos Corporan
hit, including one off of Verlander. Corporan is batting .370 for
the spring and competing with Jason Castro for the starting
catchers spot. Castro is batting .448 this spring.
Brandon Laird and Matt Dominguez also homered for the
Victor Martinez went 2-for-3 with a double for the Tigers.
NOTES: 1B Brett Wallace experienced shoulder spasms in his right
trapezius diving back to first on a pickoff move and is day to day.
. Gonzalez left his start for Triple-A Oklahoma City after being
struck in the shin by a line drive. He is day to day. . RHP Jordan
Lyles and RHP John Ely were optioned to minor league camp. . The
Tigers bullpen allowed three more runs and manager Jim Leyland said
he is starting to get concerned. ”That would be safe to say. Some
of these guys need to start stepping it up. It’s getting late,”
Leyland said. . Leyland said he isn’t concerned about his starting
rotation being ready for opening day. ”We are going to have six
guys I can count on to throw 100 pitches by opening day.”