Reds place reliever Bill Bray on the disabled list

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Bill Bray, who was bothered by a groin injury during spring training, has been placed on the disabled list with a strained left groin.

Cincinnati called up right-hander J.J. Hoover to replace the left-handed Bray on the roster and in the bullpen.

Hooper was acquired from the Braves in the Juan Francisco trade and had been serving as the closer at Triple-A. He’ll be making his MLB debut at age 24 after posting very impressive strikeout numbers in the minors.

Bray was a key part of the Reds’ bullpen last season, but injuries have repeatedly sidetracked his career and the 29-year-old southpaw hasn’t thrown 50 innings in a season since he was a rookie in 2006.

Report: Astros extend Justin Verlander for two years, $66 million

Justin Verlander
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The Astros are in agreement with right-hander Justin Verlander on a two-year, $66 million extension, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com was among those to report on Friday. With no money deferred, the $33 million he’ll receive over the next two years will set a record AAV for major-league pitchers; something MLB Network’s Jon Heyman says matters to Verlander, who “cares how his deals affect markets (and fellow players).”

While it’s far from the five-year, $100 million extension teammate Alex Bregman signed with the club on Friday, the deal will give the Astros a bigger window to consider their long-term plans for the ace before he hits free agency again. Prior to Saturday’s agreement, Verlander’s original contract — the hefty seven-year, $180 million arrangement he reached with the Tigers in 2013 — was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

It’s difficult to overestimate the value Verlander has provided to the Astros since they acquired him from the Tigers back in 2017. He was named the 2017 ALCS MVP following seven shutout innings in a must-win Game 6 performance and helped the Astros clinch their first franchise World Series title. In 2018, he earned his seventh career All-Star distinction and received consideration for both AL Cy Young and MVP awards after pitching to a 16-9 record in 34 starts with a 2.52 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 12.2 SO/9 (the product of a career-high 290 strikeouts), and 6.7 fWAR over 214 innings.

The deal has not been confirmed by the team.