Casey Blake “expected to miss minimal time” with back injury

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Casey Blake underwent a “precautionary” MRI exam on his injured back and the results showed lower thoracic spine inflammation, with Tony Jackson of ESPNLA.com reporting that “he’s expected to miss minimal time.”

There’s no timetable yet for his return, but Blake reported feeling some improvement yesterday and is officially listed as day-to-day.

Blake struggled with back problems for a big chunk of last season as well, so the 37-year-old certainly isn’t out of the woods yet. Should he miss significant time the obvious replacement is Jamey Carroll, although he may play second base with Juan Uribe shifting to third base.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.