Verlander campaigns for Home Run Derby
MAY 31, 2013 3:55p ET
Justin Verlander and the Tigers launched one of the more improbable write-in campaigns in human history on Friday, trying to get baseball's worst hitter into this year's Home Run Derby.
At 0 for 24 in his career, Verlander trails just Jose Contreras (0-29), Brandon McCarthy (0-27) and Jon Lester (0-25) among active pitchers. He's struck out more times (14) than he's made contact (10), and the closest thing he's ever come to a homer was a batting-practice bloop over the Green Monster last summer.
But Verlander is convinced that he can hit, and that some day, he'll become the first Tigers pitcher to hit a homer since Jason Johnson. His plan to start in the Home Run Derby itself is a little odd, but Verlander has never lacked for self-confidence. Besides, Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, who has allowed a major-league-high 15 homers this season, has already taken to Twitter to offer his services:
"Check my HR numbers this year, my BP is unmatched in the league," Guthrie tweeted Verlander Saturday afternoon.
Verlander even changed his Twitter avatar to a picture of him "batting", and posted a link to the voting.
Brandon Inge hit zero homers as a Tiger in the All-Star Game, so even if things go as expected, Verlander wouldn't be alone in the basement.
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