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 3 2-3 innings. He had two strikeouts, using only his fastball and curveball.
“I’m not throwing sliders yet. I threw three in the bullpen, the first three I threw all year and they were good,” he said. “I just want to get down to my three main pitches first, and the slider has always been pretty easy for me to throw for strikes. It’s pretty similar to throwing my fastball so it doesn’t take a big adjustment for me to get that going.”
Don Kelly’s two-run home run off Toronto starter Todd Redmond put the Tigers up 2-0 in the second inning.
Dan Johnson tied it for the Blue Jays with a two-run shot off Joba Chamberlain in the seventh, Johnson’s third home run in 14 at-bats.
Redmond gave up five hits and two runs in four innings while striking out three.
Bradley Glenn’s led off the 10th inning with a home run off Melvin Mercedes to win it for the Blue Jays.
Blue Jays: Redmond, a late replacement for Marcus Stroman, has given up four home runs in nine innings. Stroman stayed in Dunedin to pitch against the Canada National Junior Team.
“Just because the way he was pitching, we thought it could go to an extra inning,” said manager Brad Ausmus. “We consulted him just to make sure he felt OK. He said he did, so we kind of rolled with it.”
Verlander expects to be ready for opening day, and Ausmus said he is only a few pitches behind the other starters at this point.