Justin Verlander took matters into his own hands Wednesday with Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney both unavailable after working three straight days, holding the White Sox to one run in a complete-game win.
Jim Thome's solo homer was the only damage, as Verlander struck out nine and walked one while topping 110 pitches for the eighth time in nine starts. He's 7-0 with a 1.10 ERA in that time.
While the Tigers sit seven games above .500 while the rest of their division is 24 games below .500, here are some other notes from around baseball …
* Grady Sizemore is still experiencing pain in his elbow, so he'll be shut down for the rest of the week before undergoing an MRI exam Monday. He's still hoping to avoid surgery, but Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff said Wednesday that he's unsure whether the "incremental gains in range of motion" that Sizemore has made are enough for that to be likely. Surgery would knock him out for another 4-6 weeks.
* John Smoltz is scheduled to make his final minor-league rehab start Thursday at Triple-A after posting a 1.56 ERA, 13/2 K/BB ratio, and .148 batting average against through his first four outings. If things go smoothly Smoltz could join the Red Sox's rotation as soon as Tuesday against the Marlins, although Boston will have to make a decision on which starter to bump before then.
* Brandon Morrow has changed his mind again regarding his long-term role and asked the Mariners to let him try starting again after struggling mightily as closer before losing ninth-inning duties to David Aardsma. Seattle never should have let Morrow become a full-time reliever at the age of 24 anyway and starting again is the best thing for him, but he'll be at Triple-A for a while building arm strength.
* Jim Leyland announced Wednesday that Dontrelle Willis will remain in Detroit's rotation, which tells you how bad Jeremy Bonderman looked in his season debut. Willis is 1-3 with a 6.60 ERA and 16/20 K/BB ratio in 30 innings, yet Leyland said that he "deserves" to start Sunday. Willis has looked fairly serviceable when he's not imploding, but the decision says more about Bonderman's diminished stuff.
* Ozzie Guillen revealed Wednesday that Carlos Quentin likely won't return from his foot injury until after the All-Star break, which is rough news for a White Sox's offense that ranks 12th among AL teams in runs. Scott Podsednik has started 16 straight games in Quentin's absence and is playing surprisingly well, but his OPS is still 225 points below Quentin's mark from last season and he's due to decline.
* Anthony Reyes was one of my sleeper picks in AL-only leagues coming into the year, but he posted a 6.57 ERA in eight starts before landing on the disabled list and is now scheduled to undergo ulnar nerve transposition surgery Friday at the hands of Dr. James Andrews. Andrews may also perform Tommy John surgery if he discovers that Reyes needs the ligament replaced, so his career is in trouble.
AL Quick Hits: John Lackey was rocked for nine runs Wednesday and has a 6.61 ERA in six starts since coming off the disabled list … Mark Teixeira went 4-for-5 with a homer Wednesday and is batting .343 with 16 homers in 36 games since his terrible April … Jeff Niemann followed up last week's complete-game shutout by allowing five runs in 3.2 innings Wednesday … Carl Pavano's strong 11-start stretch came to a screeching halt Wednesday as he coughed up nine runs … Gil Meche threw seven scoreless innings Wednesday and tied a career-high with 11 strikeouts … Chien-Ming Wang didn't make it out of the third inning Wednesday and Phil Hughes also struggled relieving him … Denard Span has left the Twins to have his bouts of dizziness examined … Alberto Callaspo went 4-for-4 with a grand slam Wednesday, driving in his first runs since May 16 … Jacoby Ellsbury sat out Wednesday's game with continued shoulder soreness.
NL Quick Hits: David Wright went 3-for-5 with two stolen bases Wednesday and has already surpassed last year's total of 15 steals … Brad Lidge (knee) hopes to come off the disabled list in about two weeks, but the Phillies have expressed much less optimism … Jorge Cantu said Wednesday that his recent dizziness is caused by cholesterol medication and should "clear out" soon … Charlie Morton lasted just one inning against his former Braves teammates Wednesday, leaving with a strained hamstring … Roy Oswalt's next start has been pushed back from Thursday to Saturday because of wrist soreness … Kyle Lohse (forearm) will be out for at least a month and possibly through the All-Star break … No. 10 pick Drew Storen signed before the draft was even over Wednesday and the Stanford closer will be on the fast track to Washington … Rich Harden (back) will be on an 85-pitch limit Saturday … Rick Ankiel missed the cycle by a single Wednesday.