Carl Crawford to undergo Tommy John surgery Thursday

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With the player obviously in favor of undergoing the procedure now, the Red Sox have decided to relent: Carl Crawford will have Tommy John surgery Thursday and sit out the rest of the season.

Crawford missed the first half of the season rehabbing his wrist and elbow, but he returned last month to hit .282/.306/.479 in 117 at-bats, which should at least help alleviate concerns that he’s going to be a complete bust in a Red Sox uniform after an extremely disappointing first year in Boston.

Still, he couldn’t have helped his standing with the fanbase by making it known that he wanted surgery now. Even had Crawford waited until after the season, he most likely would have been ready for Opening Day 2013. Given that he’s a left fielder, it’s not as though he’s forced to unleash several hard throws per game. Actually playing in games will be less intensive than much of his rehab is going to be.

With Crawford out, Scott Podsednik likely will get most of the starts in left field for now. Daniel Nava should return within a week to share time there.

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.