Astros lose Jed Lowrie, Jason Castro to DL

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Just in time for their rematch against Matt Cain, the Astros put two starters on the disabled list Sunday, Jed Lowrie and Jason Castro.

Lowrie, the Astros’ most productive hitter with 14 homers and 36 RBI this season, suffered a sprained ankle during Saturday’s game. Castro, who has a solid .254/.440/.379 line in 169 at-bats, is dealing with soreness in his surgically repaired right knee.

With both players out, the Astros will turn to Rule 5 pick Marwin Gonzalez at shortstop and veteran Chris Snyder behind the plate.

The Astros are facing Cain today for the first time since the Giants right-hander pitched a perfect game against them on June 13. He struck out 14 that night.

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.