B.J. Upton gets scheduled day off, according to Rays

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B.J. Upton, who had played in every game since the All-Star break, is getting a planned day off on Sunday, manager Joe Maddon said.

It’s been scheduled since last week, he added.

Maddon didn’t know it at the time, but he sparked a million rumors when he removed Upton late in a 10-4 game Friday against the Royals.  With Desmond Jennings having been scratched from Triple-A Durham’s lineup, the move appeared to signal a trade involving Upton.  Upton, though, stayed put and he was in Saturday’s lineup, going 0-for-4 in a 5-4 loss.

Upton had an excellent first half of July, bue he’s 6-for-40 with no extra-base hits since the All-Star break.  The stretch has dropped his OPS from .752 to .706.

Jennings is starting in center field for the Rays today.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”

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