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Tigers' Verlander learned from bump in the road

By AP

DETROIT – Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander says struggling in 2008 has made him a better pitcher.

That's not good news for opponents.

Verlander's first two seasons were exceptional, and he's putting together a second straight strong year.

He ranks among league leaders with an 8-4 record and 85 strikeouts entering tonight's start on the road against the New York Mets.

Verlander is the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter, start a World Series game, and be a rookie of the year and an All-Star in his first two full seasons.

He says his stuff simply went away two years ago when he was 11-17 with a 4.84 ERA.

Verlander got his groove back in time to get an $80 million contract last winter.

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