DETROIT – When the Detroit Tigers break camp early next week and begin the regular season, one Verlander will head south to take on the Miami Marlins and another Verlander will report to the minors.
But during a head-to-head meeting Thursday, it might've been hard to tell which Verlander is a lock to make the big league club.
Justin Verlander pitched in a minor league spring training game as his final outing before taking the mound for the Tigers on Opening Day. In the first inning, his younger brother -- Tigers outfield prospect Ben Verlander -- stepped to the plate.
The older brother threw a fastball and the younger brother didn't miss it. Ben Verlander crushed the 92 mph fastball over the left-center field wall.
Detroit needs Verlander to return to ace form this season and lead a starting rotation that's filled with question marks. The 33-year-old right-hander looked great during the second half of last season, posting a 2.80 ERA and striking out 95 batters in 103 innings.
For Justin, it's a rare instance in which he's lost family bragging rights. Ben doesn't have an AL MVP, or six All-Star appearances, or two AL pennants.
But he does have one epic blast during a minor league spring training game in a good old fashioned brotherly battle. Most people will forget that game ever happened. Ben -- and probably, Justin -- certainly won't.
As long as Verlander's pitches aren't soaring over the walls of Marlins Park Tuesday, this is one blast the Tigers can laugh about.