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CLEVELAND -- Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander commented Tuesday for the first time on leaked nude photos of him and girlfriend Kate Upton that surfaced during the holiday weekend.

"I'm not going to comment on my personal life," Verlander said in the Tigers' clubhouse before tonight's game against the Cleveland Indians. "I never have, and I never plan on it. I keep my personal life personal.

"The focus for me is on the Detroit Tigers. I don't want to take any focus away from this team and what we're trying to accomplish. We're in the middle of a pennant race. We're trying to win a pennant. And all of my focus currently is on doing whatever I can to help our team win our division."

After making that statement, Verlander said he would field reporters' questions about baseball. He is scheduled to start Wednesday.

Question: Anybody in your position — when you talk about being in the pennant race — when you go to the mound, you've got to be able to block out everything else in your life. How have you learned to do that?

Verlander: "I've always been able to do that. This is my life. Baseball is my life." Regarding being on the mound, Verlander said, "I'm probably more at home there than anywhere."

Question: How easy or difficult will it be to block this out?

Verlander: "You can use my quote that I said no comment, my personal life is my personal life and I'm focused on baseball."

Upton is vowing legal action over the apparent hack. The FBI has said it is investigating.

The photos appear to show Verlander and model Upton in several states of undress. In one picture, Upton is apparently shooting a photo of her and Verlander, both naked in a mirror.

In a statement to Us magazine, Upton's lawyer, Lawrence Shire said, "This is obviously an outrageous violation of our client Kate Upton's privacy. We intend to pursue anyone disseminating or duplicating these illegally obtained images to the fullest extent possible."

Just last month, Upton explained to Details magazine why she won't pose nude for photographers:

"For me, those photos are art," she said. "Your body is art, your body is beautiful, and to be photographed in that way is amazing and it's received in a very positive way. But with social media and the Internet and not so great blogs and the attention like that, I don't think that my pictures would be received in the way that I'd want them to be received. That's why I've stayed away from them. I really appreciate those photos and I think those women are beautiful, but I think social media and the Internet has prevented me from putting myself out there like that."

Lowe and Jahnke write for the Detroit Free Press, a Gannett property

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