As we count down the final days before pitchers and catchers report to their respective complexes in Florida and Arizona, teams are currently trying to put the finishing touches on their rosters. The Rangers and Indians are two examples of this, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that both clubs have interest in free agent infielder Ryan Theriot.
Theriot batted .270/.316/.321 with zero homers, 28 RBI and a .637 OPS for the World Champion Giants last season while playing almost exclusively at second base. The 33-year-old mostly functioned as a backup after the Giants acquired Marco Scutaro from the Rockies in July.
Theriot’s starting days are likely behind him, but he wouldn’t be asked to be anything more than middle infield depth in Texas or Cleveland. It’s worth noting that he was also on the Cardinals in 2011 when they won the World Series, so he may have replaced Eric Hinske as baseball’s human good luck charm.
Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.
Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.
Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.
After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.