UPDATE: So much for that. Justin Verlander’s no-hit bid was broken up on a single by Josh Harrison with one out in the ninth. Harrison just stuck his bat out and the ball just managed to eek past the outstretched glove of shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
Verlander was given a rousing ovation by the Comerica Park crowd for his efforts before settling down to get Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen on ground outs to end it. He ended up settling for a complete game one-hitter as part of a 6-0 victory. The Detroit ace is now 5-1 on the year with a 2.14 ERA and 68/14 K/BB ratio over 67 1/3 innings.
9:13 PM: The no-no is still intact after Verlander struck out out the side in a dominant eighth inning. He got Casey McGehee looking and Nate McLouth and Clint Barmes swinging, giving him 12 strikeouts on the night. He’s still bringing high-90s heat consistently and even hit 100 mph in the inning according to the TV gun. Absurd.
He’s slated to face Michael McKenry, Josh Harrison and Neil Walker in the ninth.
8:59 PM: We could be witnessing a little bit of history tonight in Detroit.
Justin Verlander, who already has two career no-hitters, has yet to allow a hit over his first seven innings of work against the Pirates.
Verlander has issued two walks on the night, including Neil Walker in the first and Andrew McCutchen in the seventh. He has nine strikeouts, including a nasty breaking ball that which caught Garrett Jones looking to end the seventh and stranded McCutchen at second base. His pitch count is at 82, so he’s probably going the distance in this thing no matter what. The Tigers currently have a 4-0 lead.
Verlander is slated to face Casey McGehee, Nate McLouth and Clint Barmes in the eighth. If he can complete the feat, he’ll join Cy Young, Bob Feller and Larry Corcoran with three career no-hitters. Sandy Koufax had four and Nolan Ryan had seven.
Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle shares the bad news …
One of the Astros’ big bats won’t be taking hacks when the Astros hold their first full workout on Feb. 23.
Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis recently underwent surgery to repair a hernia, the Chronicle has learned, taking away most of his spring training at a minimum. The recovery is four to six weeks but fortunately for Gattis and the Astros, the injury is not considered severe.
Gattis was working hard on his overall conditioning this winter, even telling MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart in late January that he had already dropped 18 pounds. It sounds like the big slugger might have gone a bit overboard with those workouts, and now he is in real danger of missing the first couple weeks of the 2016 regular season.
Gattis batted .246/.285/.463 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 153 games last season for the Astros. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and has a hearing with the Astros scheduled for February 16 to determine his salary for 2016. He requested $3.8 million and was offered $3 million when figures were exchanged a little over three weeks ago.
Suddenly the Astros’ front office might have a new talking point for those arbitrators.
At last check, new Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh was still awaiting a work visa from the United States Embassy in South Korea and there was some worry that he might not be able to arrive on time to spring training in Jupiter, Florida.
But that is now officially a non-story.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Oh has recieved his work visa and is expected to report to Cardinals camp next week along with the rest of the club’s pitchers and catchers. Oh might even show up a bit earlier than the Cardinals originally asked him to, per Goold.
Oh saved 357 games in 11 seasons between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization before inking a one-year contract with St. Louis this winter. He also registered a stellar 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts across 646 total innings in Asia, earning the nickname “The Final Boss.”
Oh is expected to work in a setup role this year for Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.
John Lamb was part of the Reds’ return package in last July’s Johnny Cueto trade and he had a strong showing at the Triple-A level in 2015. But the young left-hander posted a 5.80 ERA in a 10-start cup of coffee with Cincinnati late last season — his first 10 appearances as a major leaguer — and now comes word from MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that Lamb will probably have to get off to a late start in 2016.
Lamb underwent surgery in December to repair a herniated disc in his back — a surgery that went unreported by the Reds until Tuesday afternoon. Reds manager Bryan Price acknowledged on MLB Network that Lamb is behind the team’s other starting pitchers and will likely open the coming season on the disabled list. The hope is that he might be ready by mid-April.
It’s a small but frustrating blow for a rebuilding Reds team that will be looking to establish some foundational pieces in 2016. Once he is recovered, Lamb will be expected to fill the Reds’ fifth rotation spot behind Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen.
This is going to be an ugly year for Cincinnati baseball fans.
Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.
His rehab so far has gone on without issue.
Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …
Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.
Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.