KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Atlanta’s Tom Glavine and Detroit’s Justin Verlander are looking to have bounce-back seasons, and each made strides Friday toward reaching their goals.
Verlander threw seven scoreless innings and Glavine shut out the Tigers for four in the Braves’ 3-2 victory.
Glavine, the two-time Cy Young Award winner with 305 wins, started a career-low 13 games last year, going 2-4 before his season was cut short by an elbow injury. He went on the disabled list for the first time in his 22-year career and ended up having elbow and shoulder surgery.
On Friday, the left-hander allowed three hits, walked none and struck out three in his second start of the spring. He pitched three scoreless innings against the Mets last Saturday.
"I don’t think I can be any happier with where I’m at," said Glavine, who threw 34 of his 51 pitches for strikes. "I was free and easy and my location was good."
Glavine didn’t throw a pitch faster than 81 mph, but he wasn’t concerned. Even when he was having 20-win seasons, his pitches never hit 90 mph.
"I hope my velocity gets better, but I can pitch like this if I locate," Glavine added. "That was a good lineup I faced and they were ahead of my changeup and late on my fastball."
Verlander, coming off a 17-loss season, is using a lower arm angle that he has worked on with new Detroit pitching coach Rick Knapp. He gave up two hits while striking out three and walking one, and was named opening-day starter before the game.
"He was terrific," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He’s really done a good job making his adjustments."
The right-hander won 35 games in his first two full seasons with Detroit before faltering last year (11-17, 4.84 ERA). Now he feels like the pitcher he was in 2006 and 2007.
"It was a big stride for me," said Verlander, who lowered his spring ERA to 2.30. "This is a game of adjustments.
"At first it was awkward," he said of the lower arm slot. "But it is getting more and more comfortable. It’s letting me pitch like I did before."
Detroit catcher Matt Treanor hit a long two-run homer off Atlanta reliever Manny Acosta in the seventh inning to put the Tigers ahead, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.
Greg Norton tied the game for the Braves in the eighth inning with a two-run double off Fernando Rodney and then Brandon Lyon, Detroit’s closer, faltered in the ninth.
Lyon gave up a walk and a single before Martin Prado hit a run-scoring single to win it.
Buddy Carlyle pitched a perfect ninth for Atlanta and hasn’t given up a run this spring.
Notes: Atlanta first baseman Casey Kotchman, fighting a virus for a week, remained out of the lineup. Left fielder Garret Anderson, who played just one Grapefruit League game before straining a quad, is expected to return to the Braves lineup Sunday against the Tigers in Lakeland.