Trying next step, Verlander to throw sim game

Rehabbing righty scheduled to face Tigers hitters Tuesday in Oakland

Trying next step, Verlander to throw sim game

DETROIT -- Six weeks after Justin Verlander threw a simulated game and fell short of his goal, he's scheduled to throw another one. He'll face a group of Tigers hitters Tuesday afternoon in Oakland, where Detroit faces the A's next week, as he tries the next step in his rehab process.

Verlander threw an extended bullpen session Thursday at Comerica Park, sitting down and getting back up to simulate innings breaks in his start. He threw his regular pregame warmup routine in the bullpen, about 45 pitches by manager Brad Ausmus' estimation, then two innings of 15 pitches each, with eight warmup pitches beforehand.

Verlander told reporters Friday he felt good after the session.

"No complaints today," Ausmus echoed.

Neither Ausmus nor Verlander had a guess on how many innings Verlander would simulate Tuesday, though Verlander joked he'd go nine innings.

"It'll probably be similar to Pittsburgh," Ausmus said in terms of duration.

Verlander was scheduled to pitch four innings of 15 pitches each during his simulated game last month in Pittsburgh, but lasted just three innings, citing fatigue. He was diagnosed later with soreness in his triceps area, which he strained in his final Spring Training start.

Back then, the simulated game appeared to be the final hurdle to getting Verlander back in the Tigers' rotation. With Verlander now two months removed from his last game action, that's no longer the case. Ausmus said Verlander will go on a Minor League rehab assignment at some point, though not necessarily right after Tuesday's simulated game.

Other injury notes:

Victor Martinez began his rehab program Friday as he tries to strengthen the troublesome left knee that landed him on the disabled list earlier this week. Martinez is working out at home in Orlando with the same physical therapist he used for his comeback from knee surgery earlier this year.

Alex Avila continues to work out in Detroit to strengthen his left knee. "There's not really a timetable [for his return]," Ausmus said, "but I know he feels better. He says the knee feels better going up and down stairs. It seems to be working."

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.