Good morning, Athletics Nation!
The Houston Astros have been without reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander almost all season, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
The 37-year-old superstar announced Saturday on Instagram that he will undergo Tommy John surgery, after experiencing a setback in a recent simulated game during his rehab from a forearm strain.
The effects of this news have multiple layers. In the immediate term, the right-hander was working back to a potential return for the 2020 postseason. That might even have meant pitching against the Oakland A’s, who are currently the likeliest first-round opponent for the Astros in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. Now there will be no such October surprise for Houston.
Furthermore, Verlander will presumably miss the entire 2021 season. Recovery from TJS takes a minimum of one full year, and it’s already late September right now, so the more realistic goal is to prepare for Opening Day of 2022. He’ll turn 39 that February.
And finally, when Verlander does return, it may well be in a different uniform. His contract with the Astros ends after 2021, with a hefty $33 million price tag in that final season, so he’ll need to sign a new one (there or elsewhere) by the time he’s healthy and ready to play again.
Of course, don’t write off Verlander yet despite this major surgery. He’s already defied the odds of the aging curve by making it this far, and it should surprise no one if he works his way back from this latest obstacle and resumes mowing down batters. When it comes to this level of superstar talent, it ain’t over till it’s over.
- A’s clinch 2020 postseason berth, via at least a Wild Card
- Gallegos: A’s get good news from Puk’s surgery
- Kawahara: A’s Jake Lamb making an early impact as late-season addition ($)
- Coffey: A’s have their sights set on bigger goals after clinching another playoff berth ($$$)
- Hickey: College Roommates Kemp, Yastrzemski Win Athletics & Giants Good Guy Awards
- Hickey: Athletics Would Rather Win AL West Title on the Field than by Astros Losing
- Hickey: The Thought of Making it Back to the Postseason has Athletics’ Piscotty Revved Up
- Hickey: Semien Looking for At-Bats as Athletics Attempt to Get Hitters Right for the Playoffs
- Hickey: Luzardo Learns New Slider on the Fly; Athletics Love It; Giants Mystified by It
- Rubin: How Jesús Luzardo connected with family of victim of Florida school shooting through cardboard cutout
- Witt: Bob Melvin frustrated by Giants hitting Ramón Laureano, Sean Murphy
- Nico: First Round Rotation Coming Into Fuzzy Focus
- News: A’s activate Daniel Mengden, then DFA him
- AN: Free Khris Davis before the 2020 postseason
- Friday: Game #51: A’s shut out Giants 6-0, clinch Wild Card and Bridge Trophy
- Saturday: Game #52: Deja vu! A’s beat Giants 6-0 again, in comedy of errors
- Sunday: Game #53: A’s miss sweep, rocked 14-2 in finale against Giants
MLB News & Interest
- Nightengale: Late Gary Hughes was the Babe Ruth of the baseball scouting world
- Schulman: Legendary Bay Area baseball scout Gary Hughes dies at 79 ($)
- FanGraphs podcast: The Roger Angell Centennial Celebration (Happy 100th birthday!)
- Roger Angell (from 2014): This Old Man
- Franco (roundup): Tigers Manager Ron Gardenhire Retires
- Today in Baseball History
R.I.P. Gary Hughes (1941-2020)
Absolutely heartbroken. Gary Hughes was the best of the best. A gem, a treasure. https://t.co/3zbGSgQidH— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 19, 2020
Melvin says Gary Hughes scouted him, and they became good friends over the years. He calls Hughes “an icon in the Bay Area.”— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 19, 2020
To explain how much Gary Hughes meant to me and virtually everyone in baseball is impossible. He had a million friends and cared about all of them with sincerity and a huge heart. I learned a lot from Gary. And learned about baseball from him too.— Ken Korach (@KenKorachRadio) September 20, 2020
Nobody had as many friends in the baseball industry as Gary Hughes. We use the word "legend" too often and too casually these days, but it's true in his case. Yes, one of the greatest scouts ever. More important, a wonderful, sweet guy who touched countless lives. RIP, my friend.— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) September 20, 2020
Weekend Game Highlights
Friday: Win! And a strong endorsement for the A’s pitching performance.
If you want to see pitching dominance, I hope you’re watching Chris Bassitt against the Giants? They are eating out of his hands!— Dave “Smoke” Stewart (@Dsmoke34) September 19, 2020
Saturday: Win! Matt Olson shines on both sides of the ball.
Sunday: Loss! But still won the trophy.
Perfectly placed hit in the shift pic.twitter.com/GzvevFTGPl— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 20, 2020
Best of Twitter
Yes it does!
The Bridge trophy looks good with the A’s pic.twitter.com/BEKUo3zITM— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 19, 2020
Robot zone please
First pitch of the game. If that’s the strike zone, it’s gonna be a good day for the pitchers pic.twitter.com/GFLe5Jsz6l— Ben Ross (@BenRossTweets) September 19, 2020
Not entirely sure there was any point in taking this team photo
#Athletics A.J. Puk had shoulder clean out, no repair, in his Wednesday surgery which is good, it'll be 10 weeks or so before the throws again. The hope would be that he's ready for spring training.— John Hickey (@JHickey3) September 18, 2020
Brewers are still in the thick of the NL Wild Card race
Three people at Brewers alternate site - two players, one staffer - have tested positive for COVID-19, sources tell The Athletic. First positives Brewers have had all season. Will not impact major-league club. 1/2— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 19, 2020
3-year, $52 million contract ends with a 6.49 ERA in 112 innings
Rockies today designated veteran close Wade Davis for assignment.— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) September 19, 2020
Not baseball but still great sportsmanship
When Spanish triathlete Diego Méntriga noticed that British triathlete James Teagle went the wrong way before finish line of Santander Triathlon,Mentriga waited for him so he could take what he says is his deserved 3rd place.“He was in front of me the whole time.He deserved it.” pic.twitter.com/5Mo52QZ3rJ— GoodNewsCorrespondent (@GoodNewsCorres1) September 19, 2020
Last but not least, a new song from Barry Zito!