Tigers, doctors clear Justin Verlander to resume throwing

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After multiple false starts and MRI exams stemming from his spring training triceps injury Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander has been cleared to resume throwing.

According to a statement released by the team “he was given the clearance to resume a throwing program designed to return him to full competition.” And at least three doctors signed off, reports Jason Beck of MLB.com.

However, because he’s missed so much time Verlander will need a minor-league rehab assignment before coming off the disabled list and there’s no timetable for him to begin pitching in the minors. In other words, it’ll be a while before he’s back in Detroit and there are still plenty of hurdles to clear, but this is the first truly positive news related to Verlander’s health since the initial “minor” injury.

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”