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Jim Leyland clarifies comments on Justin Verlander for MVP

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Tigers manager Jim Leyland made some waves earlier this week when he said that pitchers shouldn’t win the MVP award. This was a very bold statement considering that one of his own starters, Justin Verlander, is quickly gaining momentum for MVP consideration in the American League.

Despite his opinion on the topic, Leyland told Chris Iott of MLive.com earlier today that he would support Verlander for MVP under the current system.

“I will support Justin Verlander for the MVP to the hilt,” Leyland said. “I want to make that perfectly clear. The question that was asked of me was if I thought a pitcher should be the MVP. And my answer to that is no. But under the way the system is, I certainly will support Verlander to the hilt.”

To be fair, what else did we expect the guy to say? No need to continue to the controversy for another minute.

Anyway, Dennis Eckersley was last the pitcher to win an MVP award in 1992. While we can look back now and argue that it was a bit of a stretch to give the MVP to a relief pitcher, is it really that crazy to consider someone who has faced 803 batters coming into today’s action compared to a hitter who has maybe 700 plate appearances over the course of a season? I don’t think so. I still think Jose Bautista deserves the award at this moment, but we should leave the door open for special seasons from starting pitchers.

By the way, Verlander is currently going for his 20th win against the Twins. If you are into that sort of thing.

Mets’ Neil Walker expected to undergo season-ending back surgery

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal reports that Mets second baseman Neil Walker is expected to undergo season-ending surgery to fix a herniated disk in his lower back. Walker has avoided the disabled list but hasn’t played since last Saturday and has only two starts since August 22.

If Walker does indeed go under the knife, he’ll end his first season with the Mets with a terrific .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. While the Mets couldn’t have foreseen Daniel Murphy having such a terrific season, Walker was more than adequate in Murphy’s shoes at second base.

Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores have handled second base in Walker’s absence and will continue to do so through the remainder of the season.

Video: Stephen Cardullo celebrates his birthday by hitting a grand slam

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 31:  Stephen Cardullo #65 of the Colorado Rockies watches his first career Major League home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on August 31, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Rockies 1B/OF Stephen Cardullo celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday, so the rookie decided to celebrate by homering in both games of his team’s doubleheader at home against the Dodgers.

In the first game, Cardullo pinch-hit for Chris Rusin in the seventh inning and drilled a solo home run off of Casey Fien. In the second game, Cardullo smacked a grand slam to left-center field off of Bud Norris in the first inning.

Cardullo made his major league debut this past Friday. He was hitless in his first five at-bats before singling as a pinch-hitter on Monday.