Josh Geer returns to mound after overcoming skin cancer

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Josh Geer, who made 22 starts for the Padres between 2008 and ’09, is back competing for a job with San Diego this spring after missing most of last season following surgery to deal with skin cancer.

MLB.com has the story.

After making two Triple-A starts, Geer was diagnosed with Stage III melanoma last April. Surgery to remove lymph nodes followed, leaving him with 25 staples in his neck and a lengthy rehabilitation. He has been cancer-free since the surgery.

“It was a long year this last year, but I’m right on schedule now and with everything behind me,” Geer said. “I’m past it all and looking ahead to the future.”

Geer went 3-8 with a 5.28 ERA in 129 2/3 innings for the Padres in his two major league seasons. After all of the missed time, the 28-year-old doesn’t have a realistic chance of breaking camp with the team this spring. He could be part of the Triple-A rotation, though. Regardless, he’s just happy to be around and competing.

“You look at life differently,” he said. “I’m very fortunate. I’m very blessed in many ways.”

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.