Yankees, Phillies going hard after Cuban OF Jorge Soler

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With Yoenis Cespedes officially signed and sealed by Oakland, the market for fellow Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler is really beginning to heat up. And two early front-running suitors have been identified.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the teams “in hardest on” the 19-year-old Soler at this time are the Yankees and Phillies. The Blue Jays had a private workout in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday morning with Soler and the Orioles are scheduled to meet with him Sunday. The Red Sox, Cubs and White Sox have also been linked.

Soler has yet to establish residency in the Dominican and must do so before being granted free agency by Major League Baseball. But it appears the courting process is already well underway. He won’t top Cespedes’ four-year, $36 million deal in total value, but Soler does seem likely to beat him in length.

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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