Mets confirm they’re going with Miguel Batista

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The Mets have decided to favor experience over youth, at least for one weekend. They announced that Miguel Batista would initially fill Dillon Gee’s rotation spot and start Saturday against the Dodgers.

The 41-year-old Batista will be making his first start since May 19. He’s 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in four starts this season. A mop-up man of late, he’s allowed three runs — two earned — and seven hits in four innings out of the pen this month.

The alternative to Batista was Matt Harvey, and the Mets gave enough thought bringing up their 2010 first-round pick that manager Terry Collins felt the need to call him when he wasn’t chosen. Harvey was put on schedule to pitch Saturday when Triple-A Buffalo set its rotation following the All-Star break. He allowed two runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings in his start for the Bisons last 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.