Verlander sharp in final tune-up of spring training

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) – In his last start of the spring, Justin Verlander outdueled Cliff Lee, shutting out the Phillies over 6 1-3 innings in the Tigers’ 1-0 win.

Verlander has been nearly perfect this spring, not allowing a single run in 20 innings pitched. Wednesday might’ve been his most dominant outing yet.

Only Wil Nieves and Chase Utley managed hits off Tigers pitchers, both singles, for the Phillies.

Lee’s only mistakes came in the first, as Miguel Cabrera delivered a RBI groundout after Ian Kinsler tripled. Lee pitched five innings, allowing just the one run while striking out seven. Verlander also struck out seven hitters.

The Tigers did manage 10 hits Wednesday, all against pitchers with major-league experience. Torii Hunter went 2 for 3 with a double. Jared Reaves also had a double for Detroit.

Verlander upped his spring scoreless streak to 20 innings of work. Verlander is coming off shoulder surgery in the offseason, but has shown few ill effects from it.

“It’s what I expected,” Verlander said. “I don’t think you can allow yourself to doubt. When doubt creeps in your mind, that leads to failure. You have to look on the optimistic side of things.”

The Phillies played most of their regulars, something most teams do as spring nears its end. Six of the Phillies’ hitters Wednesday will start Opening Day.

“I feel like I’ve faced a lot of regulars this spring, I’ve been going on the road a lot,” Verlander said.

“So I’ve faced most of the lineups. I’d rather it be like that. You get a better gauge of where you’re at.”

Cliff Lee gave up just one run over five innings of work, continuing his stellar spring as he heads into his Opening Day start.

“I mean I’ve felt good the whole time,” Lee said. “Spring training for me is over now. It’s on to the real games. So I’m looking forward to it.”

Lee, 35, has a 2.55 ERA this spring in six starts.

Phillies outfielder and franchise star Bobby Abreu, 40, was informed he will not be on the Opening Day roster.