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Tigers put Justin Verlander on DL

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander will start the season on the disabled list but likely won't be out of action for long, manager Brad Ausmus said Thursday.

Verlander, who had been scheduled to make his first start of the season Wednesday, has been dealing with a sore triceps and has been throwing lightly in an attempt to work out the tightness.

It will mark the first time that the former AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner has been put on the disabled list.

"You never want to spend time on the DL, but it works out to allow the team to have an extra bullpen guy," Verlander told reporters Thursday. "It's kind of a crappy way to have it go, but at least it helps the team.

"It's just a bump in the road. ... I am not overly concerned. I am not concerned at all, actually. Once it's healed, I will be good to go."

Ausmus said the move will be backdated to March 28, and he is "optimistic" that Verlander will start the sixth game of the season on April 12 against the Cleveland Indians.

"Essentially, he doesn't miss a start," Ausmus said. "His arm will let us know when he can get back on the mound. Cautiously optimistic he'll get back on the mound Saturday or Sunday."

David Price already has been named the team's Opening Day starter. Anibal Sanchez and Shane Greene will now move up to pitch the second and third games of the season, respectively.

"There is no point in pushing it super hard for day one, especially if that sacrifices the long haul," Verlander told reporters. "This team needs me for six months, not one start."

Verlander left Friday's start against Toronto in the third inning after experiencing cramping in his triceps. Before his injury, Verlander's fastball had been clocked from 94 to 96 mph, his best velocity readings of the spring. Both the Tigers' staff and opposing scouts have said it was the best he'd thrown in two years.

"It's feeling better every day and that's a really good sign," Verlander told reporters Thursday after throwing off flat ground from 60 feet for the second day in a row. "I threw yesterday, and it was OK. I threw today, and it was better. They say it's a really good sign that it's getting better while I am throwing. So I am optimistic about that.

"It's a daily thing. The main thing is, it's April. You don't want to sacrifice the season trying to speed things up. If this was September, it would be a different story. Right now, you don't want to put yourself at risk for missing more time later in the season."

The 32-year-old Verlander, a six-time All-Star selection, went 15-12 last season with a 4.54 ERA and 159 strikeouts. Verlander is 28-24 in two seasons since starting a $180 million, seven-year contract, and he was slowed by core muscle surgery before the 2014 season.

The Tigers also placed reliever Bruce Rondon on the disabled list because of tendinitis in his right shoulder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.