Justin Verlander brought a no-hit bid against the Rangers into the seventh inning, getting two quick outs on fly balls before Mitch Moreland doubled to center. He retired Elvis Andrus on a pop-up to end the inning, and as it would turn out, his afternoon. Verlander left with tightness in his right quadriceps, though the injury is not serious. Over seven shutout innings, Verlander allowed just the one hit while walking three and striking out three as the Tigers went on to defeat the Rangers 5-0.
With today’s outing, Verlander lowered his ERA to 3.50 and he earned his 10th win of the season. Because he pitched this afternoon, Verlander would have been eligible to pitch one inning maximum in Tuesday’s All-Star Game. American League manager Jim Leyland yesterday said he would not use any Sunday starter in the game, however. As a result, Orioles starter Chris Tillman took his spot on the All-Star roster.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.