Justin Verlander is finally healthy after being sidelined since spring training with a triceps injury and the Tigers announced that he’ll come off the disabled list to make his season debut Saturday against the Indians.
Verlander made his second-minor league rehab start Saturday at Triple-A, striking out nine batters in 5.2 innings to convince the Tigers that he’s ready to return. He threw 93 pitches in that outing, so he should be just about fully stretched out.
As for what to expect from Verlander, that’s awfully tough to say. Even before this injury derailed him for the start of this season the former MVP and Cy Young winner looked like a big question mark at age 32. He allowed the most earned runs in the league last season, posting a 4.54 ERA with just 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings and diminished velocity.
He’s signed through 2019 at an average of $28 million per season and the Tigers have lost 14 of their last 21 games, so they desperately need Verlander to get back on track and stay healthy.
Today the Angels introduced their newest big star, Anthony Rendon, who just signed a seven-year, $245 million contract to play in Orange County.
And it is Orange County, not Los Angeles, Rendon stressed at the press conference. When asked about the Dodgers, who had also been reported to be courting him, Rendon said he preferred the Angels because, “the Hollywood lifestyle . . . didn’t seem like it would be a fit for us as a family.”
What “the Hollywood Lifestyle” means in that context could mean a lot of things I suppose. It could be about the greater media scrutiny Dodgers players are under compared to Angels players. It could mean that he’d simply prefer to live in Newport Beach than, I dunno, wherever Dodgers players live. Pasadena? Pasadena is more convenient to Dodger Stadium than the beach. Who knows. They never did let Yasiel Puig get that helicopter he wanted, so traffic could’ve been a consideration.
But maybe it’s a subtle allusion to political/cultural stuff. Orange County has trended to the left in some recent elections but it is, historically speaking, a conservative stronghold in Southern California. And, based on something else he said in his press conference, Rendon seems to be pretty conscious of geographical/political matters:
A shoutout to the notion of Texas being Trump country and an askance glance at “the Hollywood Lifestyle” of Los Angeles all in the same press conference. That’s a lot of culture war ground covered in one press conference. So much so that I can’t decide if I should warn Rendon that both Texas and Orange County are trending leftward or if I should tell him to stick to sports.