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Justin Verlander Promoted...Still Dominant


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I have Verlander in a fantasy/simulation league that's been running for about 4 years now. I drafted him last year with the 6th overall pick.


So, I've been following him for quite sometime. He's got absolutely killer stuff, just has to keep it under control and he'll be an ace, no doubt about it. Control was really the only question coming out of college.

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Verlander gets spot start for Tigers

Erie right-hander will pitch July 4 in Cleveland

By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com


Justin Verlander, dominant in his first two Double-A starts for Erie, will pitch for the Tigers on Monday. (Duane Burleson/AP)


Like all prospects, Justin Verlander dreamed of making it to the big leagues.

Little did the Tigers' top pitching prospect know it would happen on Monday.


With the need for a sixth starter due to a July 4 doubleheader in Cleveland, the Tigers have decided to bring up their 2004 first-round pick (No. 2 overall) for a one-time start against the Indians.


"I got a call [Thursday] from [Minor League field coordinator] Glen Ezell," Verlander said. "He basically sprung it on me. It's pretty exciting."


Verlander will likely join the Tigers in Detroit on Sunday -- a week before he's slated to participate in the XM Satellite All-Star Futures Game there -- then travel to Cleveland to pitch the second game of the day-night doubleheader.


"I was pretty excited and surprised," Verlander said. "Honestly, I think it's a great honor that they would call me up in this sutiation. I hope I do well for the team.


"I just can't wait for Monday to get here."


Verlander began the year, and his pro career, with Lakeland in the Class A Advanced Florida State League. After going 9-2 with a 1.67 ERA, 104 strikeouts and just 19 walks in 86 innings, the right-hander got promoted to Double-A Erie.


His dominance has continued in his two starts with the SeaWolves. Verlander hasn't allowed a run in two starts spanning 14 innings. He's allowed just five hits and three walks while striking out 18. His 122 total K's was the third highest total in the Minor Leagues entering Friday's games.


Verlander was originally slated make his third start for Erie on Saturday. With the callup, the Old Dominion product will pitch one inning on Friday night instead, serving as an in-game bullpen session to tune up for Monday's start.


In many ways, it's an ideal situation for a young pitcher like Verlander. With less than a year of pro ball under his belt, a permanent move to the big leagues isn't realistic. With a spot start, Verlander doesn't really have to worry about the future ramifications of his performance on Monday.


Win or lose, he'll go back to Erie on Tuesday with a very valuable glimpse of what lies ahead. Of course, Verlander is well aware that a strong start could accelerate the timetable for a permanent callup.


"If I do a good job, it can't do anything but help," Verlander said. "That's in the back of my mind. I'm not going to think about that. I'm just going to go up there and do the best I can do."


He'll be facing an Indians team that's been coming together in the last month. Cleveland went 17-9 in June, with an offense that scored runs in bunches over the past month. The Tribe tied for the AL lead with runs scored over the past 30 days.


"I saw them on TV last night," Verlander said. "They have a good lineup, and they're playing well, so it's going to be a challenge."

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