Red Sox prospect Henry Owens tosses six-inning no-hitter

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Double-A Portland’s Henry Owens kicked off the minor league season in style Thursday, throwing six hitless innings against Reading before the game was called due to rain.

Owens, probably Boston’s top prospect now that Xander Bogaerts is in the majors, was matched up against the Phillies’ best pitching prospect, fellow left-hander Jesse Biddle.

Owens, who went 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA in six starts after a late-season promotion to Double-A last year, was probably done after six regardless, given that it was the first day of the season and he had thrown 86 pitches. He struck out nine and walked two in the gem.

Second basemam Mookie Betts, another one of Boston’s top prospects,  went 4-for-4 with a homer from the leadoff spot to lead the offense in the 5-0 victory.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”