If you happened to read the game recap or check the box score this morning of the Erie SeaWolves' game last night, it's very possible your heart stopped temporarily or you screamed out ‘NO!" in vein as co-workers stared strangely at you.
For those that didn't see, Justin Verlander pitched just three innings before being removed from the game. At that point, he had let to allow a hit, and just two base runners via walks. But when he trotted out in the 4th inning, he started to feel tightness in his throwing shoulder in his warm-up pitches.
After discussions with pitching coach Mike Caldwell and manager Duffy Dyer, the ‘Wolves pulled Verlander from the game, who was visibly upset after being removed. He felt his shoulder was fine and he was perfectly capable of pitching through it. But considering the history of former Tiger first round picks (the latest example being '03 pick Kyle Sleeth), there was absolutely no way they would take the chance.
Verlander was checked out after the game, but everything appears to be in order. That won't stop the Tigers from possibly flying Verlander into Detroit to be checked out by the Tiger medical staff, and maybe even shutting him down for a little while should he experience the same discomfort again. But for now, everything appears to be just fine with the Tigers' prized arm.
What isn't in such great shape is the SeaWolves' bullpen, specifically one member in particular. Adam Peterson was snagged off waivers by the Tigers earlier in the season when Arizona dropped him from their 40 man roster, but thus far he's been nothing but a disappointment.
In 36 appearances, Peterson has allowed 36 runs in 49-plus innings, good for a 6.20 ERA. The Tigers grabbed him thinking he'd have potential as a solid middle reliever, but with him continuing to be completely ineffective, an extremely high WHIP for a reliever (1.62), and no discernable out-pitch, Peterson will likely be moved off the 40 man roster at the end of the season to make room for a more valuable member, especially with quite a few players (including David Espinosa, Don Kelly and Brent Clevlen) all eligible for the Rule 5 draft.
As for the team in general, they lost their most productive starter (Joel Zumaya) and their most productive hitter (Don Kelly) to AAA, and other top prospects that were expected to be big contributors just haven't come through as expected.
One player that has really started to turn his season around though has been Juan Tejeda. Tejeda met disappointment to start the year, as after hitting well in the Eastern League, he was returned to Erie, while teammates like Ryan Raburn and Curtis Granderson got promoted. Couple that with a number of nagging injuries, and Tejeda's first half was miserable. But he's absolutely hit the cover off the ball the past two months and should he continue his hot hitting through the final month, will still end up with very solid numbers, and will hopefully force the Tigers to finally give him the promotion to AAA.