LAKELAND, Fla. – For Justin Verlander, spring training is as much about mental focus as physical preparation.
Verlander has been one of baseball's most consistent pitchers, with an ERA under 4.00 in four of five full seasons. The main blemish on his resume is a penchant for slow starts, so the Detroit right-hander is approaching spring training with noticeable intensity.
Verlander has a career ERA of 5.02 in April.
Manager Jim Leyland says his ace has been "totally locked in" — even with opening day still six weeks away.
Verlander helped the Tigers reach the 2006 World Series, but they haven't made the playoffs since then.