Justin Verlander tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the A’s yesterday, logging his 50th consecutive start of at least six innings, but the Tigers ace would have stayed in even longer if not for the callus on his right thumb splitting open.
“I looked down there towards the end of the seventh inning and it was bleeding,” Verlander told Jason Beck of MLB.com, adding that he’s dealt with issues related to the callus for a while now and doesn’t expect to miss any time.
Between now and his next start the reigning MVP and Cy Young winner will see if moisturizer can help keep the callus from drying out. Verlander already has his own cereal, but this sounds like another endorsement possibility if things go well.
“Take it from me, Justin Verlander: Not only does this product make women’s faces look great it can keep your fingers from exploding with blood.”
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.