Tigers' Justin Verlander dazzles in loss to Blue Jays

LAKELAND, Fla. — Justin Verlander pitched one-hit ball into the fourth inning of his spring debut for the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, a 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.


Verlander’s spring routine has been postponed by his recovery from core-muscle repair surgery on Jan. 9, and his first scheduled start was rained out last Thursday.

“It was a really good sign to get out there on the mound and not worry about it, and worry about getting batters out and (the results) still be pretty good,” he said. “I put in a lot of work after surgery to get to this point and be ready for the start of the season.

The 2011 MVP and Cy Young Award winner threw 52 pitches, giving up a first-inning single to Melky Cabrera and walking two in 32/3 innings. He had two strikeouts, using only his fastball and curveball.

RED SOX: John Lackey gave up three runs over 22/3 innings in his first spring training start, a 5-4 split-squad loss to the Miami Marlins.

Lackey missed the 2012 season while recuperating from elbow ligament-replacement surgery and pitched 2151/3 innings during the regular season and postseason last year. He allowed four hits against the Marlins, struck
out two and walked none.

NATIONALS: Jordan Zimmer­mann struck out four in a 3-2 victory over New York and retired all 12 batters he faced against a Yankees lineup that included Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira and former Brave Brian McCann.

“I was just locating pretty good and I was mixing everything in today. I wasn’t holding anything back,” Zimmermann said.

YANKEES: Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka made his third start for New York, this time in a simulated game.

Tanaka struck out nine of 18 batters in four innings Tuesday. He gave up three hits, including a home run, to a pair of minor leaguers.

Tanaka threw 16 consecutive strikes and finished with 49 strikes among 63 pitches.

RAYS: David Price struck out eight in five innings, and former Brave Yunel Escobar and David DeJesus drove in runs off Ricky Nolasco, helping Tampa Bay beat the Minnesota Twins 7-1.

Price allowed one run and three hits in his second spring training start, surrendering a home run to Jason Kubel leading off the second inning.

The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner walked one, hit a batter and also was charged with a balk during a 75-pitch outing.

METS: Jon Niese struggled in his first spring start that was delayed by shoulder trouble, allowing four runs in two innings of New York’s 9-8 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Mets’ Opening-Day starter last season, Niese pitched until June before being sidelined by a partially torn rotator cuff. He returned in August, going 5-2 with a 3.00 ERA the rest of the way. The left-hander allowed six hits and walked two Tuesday.

CARDINALS: Manager Mike Matheny believes a contested play late in a 9-8 loss to the Mets would have been overturned had the new review process used the same video feed the team saw so he’s planning on discussing the call with officials in the commissioner’s office.

Matheny says he wants to get an idea of how the system will work under the established guidelines.

During the regular season, rulings under new expanded replay system will be made in New York. This spring, the league gas been testing it by using video trucks parked outside ballparks. Fewer television angles are being used for exhibition games.

Umpires in Jupiter needed about two minutes to uphold a call on a play at third base.



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