Tigers drop rain-shortened game after Verlander injury

Right-hander leaves after 2 2/3 innings with right triceps cramp

Tigers drop rain-shortened game after Verlander injury

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays homered three times in a 4-1 rain-shortened victory over the Tigers on Friday afternoon in a game that was marred by the loss of Detroit right-hander Justin Verlander to a right triceps injury.

The game was called due to rain in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Verlander was forced to leave in the bottom of the third inning with a cramp in his right triceps muscle. He was scheduled to receive further evaluations on Saturday but tentatively remains on schedule to make his next start.

Jose Bautista, Dalton Pompey and Justin Smoak homered in the game that was cut short. Shortstop Andrew Romine went 2-for-2 with a double while second baseman Hernan Perez singled and scored a run.

Right-hander Drew Hutchison picked up for the victory for the Blue Jays after allowing one run one four hits and one walk with six strikeouts. Hutchison has allowed three runs in 15 official innings this spring, which doesn't include a Minor League outing he made last week against the Yankees.


Safety squeeze: The way Anthony Gose has hit this spring, he hasn't done much bunting. With Hernan Perez on third base and nobody out in the third inning, however, he laid down a well-placed safety squeeze toward third base that left no play but at first -- and he nearly beat the throw. Gose also singled in the opening inning.

Gose's RBI safety squeeze

Pompey goes deep: Pompey isn't known for his power but he appears to have a knack for hitting home runs against some of the game's biggest names. Last year, he went deep on Seattle's Felix Hernandez and on Friday afternoon he did the same to Verlander. Pompey's first of the spring was a no doubter to right field and marked his sixth extra-base hit of the Grapefruit League season.

Bautista still rolling: Bautista probably wishes that the regular season had started a couple of weeks ago because he continues to be Toronto's hottest hitter at the plate. Toronto's No. 3 hitter went deep yet again on Friday afternoon with a solo shot to left-center field. Bautista leads the club with five home runs this spring to go along with 10 RBIs and he has reached base 15 times in 13 games.


"I felt good, really good. That's where I want to be. Those first two innings are a great sign. I felt like myself, funny to say." -- Verlander on his outing, which included a fastball that regularly hit 95-96 mph on the stadium radar gun and a curveball that had sharp bite.


Blue Jays: Toronto will play a pair of split-squad games against the Braves and Pirates on Saturday afternoon. Marco Estrada will get the start in Dunedin against the Braves at 1:07 p.m. ET and is expected to be followed by Aaron Loup, Colt Hynes and Roberto Osuna. Estrada hasn't pitched in the past two weeks because of a sprained ankle and appears destined for the bullpen. Veteran lefty Randy Wolf will start in Bradenton against the Pirates at 1:05 p.m. ET. Wolf signed a Minor League deal earlier this spring and this will mark his first appearance in a Grapefruit League game. Todd Redmond also is scheduled to pitch against Pittsburgh. Both games can be heard on Gameday Audio.

Tigers: The Tigers field what looks likely to be their Opening Day lineup -- including Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez -- a little early on Saturday, when they host the Cardinals in a 1:05 p.m. ET matchup at Joker Marchant Stadium. Shane Greene is scheduled to make his fifth start of the spring opposite Lance Lynn. Fans can listen to the game on Gameday Audio.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.