When Justin Verlander had surgery at the beginning of this month it seemed like a harmless surgery that was only going to impact the very beginning of spring training. That was the thought until Dave Dombrowski spoke to the media today. There were a lot of encouraging words spoken by Dombrowski, who said that the injury does not seem like it will impact Verlander for a very long time, but the bombshell came when Dombrowski suggested that it would not be a shock if Verlander were to miss a start or two in the regular season. You could hear the collective hearts of Detroit Tigers fans dropping.
The statement itself is not too concerning. I mean one or two starts in the grand scheme of things isn’t a big deal, but the statement two weeks ago saying he would only miss the beginning part of spring training wasn’t concerning either. Magically, the time table keeps getting pushed further and further back while management continues to say there is nothing to worry about, but there is reason to start being concerned.
One only needs to look at Chris Carpenter last season or Roy Halladay to understand that when management says not to worry, you really should be worrying. With any surgery you never know how a player is going to respond, you never know how fragile the player still is and if they can push themselves that extra bit. When they can’t, it destroys a season whether they play or not.
If Verlander is injured off and on this season, the Tigers are going to be in some serious trouble. The trading of Doug Fister looks even worse now that the Tigers may have some games without their ace pitcher. For the first time in a long time there are some serious holes in the Tigers’ rotation and that is enough to make any fan worry. We all are left hoping this will be the last time the timetable is pushed back and that Verlander bounces back as good as ever, because if he doesn’t, you may need to have a pack of tums at standby.