Jon Jay homers, triples in second rehab game

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The Cards are finally starting to get good news.

Jon Jay hit a triple, a home run and crossed the plate three times Wednesday evening in his second rehab game with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. He went 1-for-3 in his first rehab game, and is now 3-for-7 since being cleared for minor league action.

Jay has been on the shelf since mid-May with a shoulder sprain suffered on the play pictured in this post. If all continues to run smoothly, he could be cleared to return to the Cardinals’ starting lineup at some point during the team’s upcoming weekend series in Kansas City.

The 27-year-old center fielder was batting .343/.395/.438 with two home runs, four stolen bases and 18 runs scored in 117 plate appearances before landing on the disabled list. St. Louis is 14-19 in his absence.

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.