Orioles recall Kevin Gausman, designate Freddy Garcia for assignment

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Freddy Garcia pitched well in his first month with the Orioles, starting six games with a 3.57 ERA, but the soft-tossing 36-year-old coughed up 20 runs in 17.2 innings this month and today Baltimore designated him for assignment. Garcia told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that he has no plans to retire and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him latch on somewhere as a stop gap rotation fill-in.

To replace him on the roster the Orioles recalled Kevin Gausman, who was demoted to the minors after beginning his big-league career with an 0-3 record and 7.66 ERA in five starts. Gausman was the No. 4 overall pick in last year’s draft out of LSU and has a 3.96 ERA and 53/6 K/BB ratio in 52 innings between Double-A and Triple-A.

While being knocked around in his first taste of the majors Gausman averaged 95.4 miles per hour with his fastball, which would rank third-fastest among all qualified starting pitchers behind only Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named 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.