Justin Verlander looks ready for a return to Tigers rotation

Justin Verlander gives up an unearned run and four hits 5 2/3 innings of rehab assignment

Justin Verlander made a strong case Saturday that he's ready to pitch for the Detroit Tigers.

In his second rehabilitation start with Triple-A Toledo, the right-hander displayed much better command than his first time out. Verlander struck out nine without a walk, gave up an unearned run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Columbus Clippers.

The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner has been sidelined all season after leaving a March 27 spring training game with a strained right triceps.

He made his first rehab start for Toledo on Sunday at Indianapolis, giving up three runs and six hits while walking two and striking out three.

"Control was much better today," Verlander said. "I felt like for the most part I was able to hit my spots, get ahead of guys and execute my pitches much better."

Verlander threw 93 pitches, 69 for strikes.

"I feel like today was the step I wanted to see," Verlander said. "The biggest thing was getting my pitch count up, getting some innings, not just throwing three innings but getting out there and getting up and down a few times."

Etc.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have activated third baseman Jake Lamb from the 15-day disabled list and designated backup catcher Jordan Pacheco for assignment.

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