Verlander has sore triceps, Astros send ace for more tests

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Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander walks in the dugout after pitching to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of a spring training baseball game, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander felt soreness in his triceps and made an early exit from an exhibition start Sunday, and the AL Cy Young Award winner was headed for more tests.

Verlander was set to pitch four innings against the New York Mets. But with his velocity down from his previous start, Verlander was pulled after two scoreless innings.

“It’s some tricep soreness, so we took him out as a precaution,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said.

“We’re going to send him to go get some tests run and make sure it’s nothing. We’ve got to take care of the big horse,” he said.

The 37-year-old Verlander was slowed by a groin injury earlier in spring training.

The right-hander threw over 50 pitches in 2 2/3 innings against St. Louis on Tuesday. He didn’t reach 30 pitches against the Mets, allowing three hits without a run while striking out one and walking none.

Verlander was dominant last year, going 21-6 for the Astros and leading the majors in wins, opponents’ batting average (.172), WHIP (0.80) and innings pitched (223). He also tossed his third career no-hitter while striking out a career-high 300 and posting a 2.58 ERA.

Verlander then started six times in the postseason, going 1-4 and pitching 35 1/3 innings. The Astros lost the World Series in seven games to Washington.

Elsewhere around the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues:


Texas outfielder Willie Calhoun suffered a broken jaw when he was hit in the face by a 95 mph fastball from Los Angeles lefty Julio Urias. Calhoun was down on the ground for several minutes, carted off the field and taken to a hospital.

Newcomer Todd Frazier hit his first home run with Texas, connecting off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.


Jake Lamb hit a two-run homer and an RBI single for Arizona. David Peralta had an RBI single and Stephen Vogt had two doubles and a single, scoring twice. Top pitching prospect Jon Duplantier made his second start, yielding a run on two hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings.

Kyle Schwarber drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in the lone run for Chicago’s split squad. Jose Quintana gave up a run on three hits and two walks, pitching two innings in his second start.

REDS (SS) 11, CUBS (SS) 9

Kris Bryant had an RBI double and a sacrifice fly for Chicago’s split squad. Anthony Rizzo hit two doubles and Josh Phegley had a solo home run and an RBI double.

Kyle Farmer and Alex Blandino had RBI singles in Cincinnati’s four-run first inning. Phillip Ervin had two hits, including a solo home run, raising his average to .444.


Joey Votto singled and scored on Matt Davidson’s second home run for Cincinnati’s split squad. Trevor Bauer pitched four innings in his second start, yielding one run on a hit and a walk, striking out four.

Arismendy Alcantara and Michael Hermosillo homered for Los Angeles’ split squad.


Matt Andriese made his second start, pitching four shutout innings on two hits for Los Angeles. The Angels tabbed Andrew Heaney as their opening day starter.

Christian Yelich singled for his first hit this spring in his second game for Milwaukee’s split squad. Logan Morrison his this third home run and Orlando Arcia hit his fifth homer.


Matt Olson had an RBI single for Oakland. Franklin Barreto had three hits and scored on a wild pitch by Milwaukee closer Josh Hader.

Ben Gamel had a two-run triple for Milwaukee’s split squad. Ryon Healy had a double and a single.


Cheslor Cuthbert hit two home runs for Chicago’s split squad. Newcomer Yasmani Grandal drove in a run with his first spring double. Yermin Mercedes hit his third home run. Reynaldo Lopez made his second start, pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings on five hits while striking out five.

Manny Machado went 0 for 3 for San Diego and is batting .050. Eric Hosmer had three singles. Ace Chris Paddack was roughed up in his third start, allowing four runs on six hits in four innings.


Zack Collins homered for Chicago. Hunter Dozier and Bubba Starling hit back-to-back solo home runs for Kansas City.


Darin Ruf hit three doubles for San Francisco and is batting .455 in exhibition play. He also has three home runs this spring in his first big league camp since playing three seasons in South Korea. Hunter Pence homered and Buster Posey had two hits, including an RBI double. Jeff Samardzija made his third start, surrendering a run on two hits and two walks, striking out four in 3 2/3 innings.

J.P. Crawford drove in newcomer Carlos Gonzalez with a second-inning triple for Seattle. Justus Sheffield made his second start, pitching three innings and allowing a run on three hits while striking out five.


Raimel Tapia homered for Colorado. Kyle Freeland made his second start, pitching three innings and giving up a run on two hits and two walks, striking out four.

Bobby Bradley hit his third home run for Cleveland. Jordan Luplow doubled for one of the Indians’ three hits.


Noah Syndergaard made his third start for New York, pitching three innings and allowing a run on two hits, striking out four. Robinson Cano and Pete Alonso both had two hits, including RBI doubles.


Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez was held out of batting practice this weekend because of back soreness after being behind the plate on back-to-back days. He was left off the travel roster for Monday’s exhibition game against Philadelphia.

Dwight Smith Jr. had two RBI singles and Chris Davis singled in a run and walked twice for Baltimore. Tommy Milone homered, doubled, singled and drove in three runs for New York.


Masahiro Tanaka made his third start, pitching 3 2/3 shutout innings and giving up one hit while striking out four. Chris Iannetta had an RBI single.

Sean Newcomb threw four scoreless innings in his third start for Atlanta, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out four. Dansby Swanson had one of the Braves’ two hits.


Kenta Maeda excelled in his third start for Minnesota, pitching four scoreless innings and giving up two hits with six strikeouts. Josh Donaldson doubled and singled.

Martin Perez threw four shutout innings in his third start for Boston, yielding four hits and a walk while striking out seven. Kevin Pillar doubled and scored on a single by J.D. Martinez.


Paul Goldschmidt had a two-run double and Yadier Molina added an RBI single and a sacrifice fly for St. Louis. Harrison Bader had a two-run single. Dakota Hudson allowed a run on two hits and three walks, pitching 3 2/3 innings in his second start and striking out five.

Miami prospect Jazz Chisholm homered.


Colin Moran had two singles, driving in a run for Pittsburgh. Mitch Keller pitched three innings in his fourth start, allowing one run on three hits and a walk.

Tampa Bay’s Austin Meadows went 0 for 3, driving in a run with a ground out as his average fell to .087 this spring.


Miguel Cabrera doubled and singled and Jody Mercer homered for Detroit. Jordan Zimmermann threw four shutout innings in his third start, allowing one hit.

Washington prospect Carter Kieboom doubled and drove in a run.


Matt Shoemaker made his second start, issuing only a walk in four shutout innings and striking out four. Travis Shaw homered for the second straight day and Bo Bichette also connected.

Vince Velasquez struggled in his second start for Philadelphia, surrendering three runs on two hits and three walks in 2 2/3 innings. The Phillies didn’t get their first hit until Jay Bruce’s single with two outs in the sixth.


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