David Ortiz unlikely to return this season

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We haven’t heard much about David Ortiz lately and there’s a pretty good reason for that, as there just isn’t much to report.

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said this afternoon that Ortiz has made progress since receiving a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection for his strained right Achilles tendon on August 27, but that he isn’t ready to resume running. With the Red Sox out of contention and only a few weeks left in the season, Valentine said he is prepared to play without him for the rest of the year.

“I’m not sure that that’s the official word yet,” Valentine said. “Just prepare just in case he’s not going to come back. It’s not really my call. I mean, if he’s healthy and he loves to play the game of baseball, he could always go out there and bat it around a little. I’d hate to jeopardize his career, that’s for sure.”

Ortiz has put together one of the most productive seasons of his career at the age of 36, batting .318/.415/.611 with 23 home runs, 60 RBI and a 1.026 OPS in 90 games played. It just doesn’t make much sense to rush back, especially since a major setback could cost him big-time in free agency this winter.

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.