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TEX@DET: Verlander dominant over seven one-hit frames

Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning last Sunday, and he'll look for a series-evening outing against the Royals on Saturday after Kansas City took the series opener with a 1-0 win on Friday.

Verlander hasn't pitched with his usual dominance this season, going 10-6 with a 3.50 ERA in the first half. After starting on Sunday, he was unable to pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game. Normally, Verlander will throw two side sessions when he has an extra day of rest like he does this week. Instead, the only throwing Verlander did was on Thursday at Comerica Park before the Tigers left for Kansas City.

"I just felt like my body was telling me to get a little rest," Verlander said, "and I did."

Though it was a break from routine, pitching coach Jeff Jones said it could do him some good, especially with how hard Verlander has worked in the past couple of months trying to find his form.

"I think it's going to rejuvenate him," Jones said. "It's been a battle for him. He's worked as hard as you can work trying to figure some things out. We've spent a lot of time in the video room working on various things that he's gotten away from that he's done in the past. I think he's starting the throw the ball really well."

Meanwhile, Jeremy Guthrie will start for the Royals on the one-year anniversary of his acquisition from the Rockies. The right-hander went 8-7 with a 4.25 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 120 2/3 innings before the break.

With higher expectations heading into this season, the Royals are hoping to make up ground in the American League Central standings with a strong series against the first-place Tigers.

"We start off fresh," Royals All-Star left fielder Alex Gordon said. "Everyone's coming in and got their rest in. We know we didn't end the way we wanted to especially with [a three-game sweep before the break at] Cleveland, luckily we have Detroit right off the bat and can make up for it."

Royals: Herrera returns to bullpen
Kelvin Herrera rejoined the Royals' bullpen on Friday, throwing a scoreless two-thirds of an inning.

"I feel great, I feel ready to go, ready to help this team," Herrera said.

Herrera pitched a total of 13 1/3 innings for Triple-A Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas, giving up just three hits and two runs with three walks, two hit batters and 21 strikeouts in his second Minor League stint this season.

• One of the Royals' top prospects, right-hander Kyle Zimmer, was promoted to Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Friday and is scheduled to make his Naturals debut on Saturday.

Zimmer was the fifth overall selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, and went 4-8 with a 4.82 ERA in 18 starts at Class A Advanced Wilmington. He struck out 113 batters in 89 2/3 innings.

Tigers: Infante likely out for the Royals set
While Omar Infante was hoping to return to the Tigers immediately following the All-Star break, it's unlikely he will be able to play this weekend with his sprained left ankle.

"We have to evaluate him first," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said. "Once he's a full-go, then he'll go out on a rehab assignment. He's not a full-go yet."

Infante, who stayed in Florida during the All-Star break, has been running at half-speed and fielding ground balls side to side, and he began taking full batting practice on Thursday. He will be re-evaluated on Saturday.

• Left-handed reliever Darin Downs has been progressing from left rotator cuff tendinitis and his next step will likely be some soft of session against hitters. He threw off the mound on Wednesday and Friday, and is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Monday, though he'll likely need a Minor League rehab assignment.

• Brayan Villarreal will miss two to four weeks before he can resume throwing with a right thumb injury. He has a 2-2 record with a 3.15 ERA in 28 appearances at Triple-A Toledo since being optioned on April 23.

Worth noting
• Lorenzo Cain is on a seven-game hitting streak.

• Torii Hunter is batting .429 with 12 runs scored, three homers and 13 RBIs since July 2. Comments