Rafael Furcal unlikely to return this weekend

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The Dodgers have decided to delay Rafael Furcal’s return from the disabled list after he felt some tightness in his right hamstring during two rehab games with Class A Inland Empire this week.

Furcal was originally expected to be activated on Friday, however Dodgers manager Joe Torre told Jim Peltz of the Los Angeles Times that “it’s probably going to be a few days” before Furcal returns to the lineup.

“He just didn’t feel sure that he could just turn it loose,” Torre said.
“He feels down about it, but we can’t have him unless he’s all the way
there. His speed means too much to his game. He didn’t reinjure
anything; it’s just not all the way back.”

Furcal was batting .309/.378/.420 with six RBI, eight stolen bases and 16 runs scored over his first 19 games before injuring the hamstring during the first game of a doubleheader against the Mets on April 27.
 

Astros name Justin Verlander ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.