The Cubs are considering Chase Utley

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The Cubs have internally discussed going after Phillies second baseman Chase Utley leading up to the August 31 waiver deadline, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Utley, battling a right ankle injury, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sunday. He’s been on the disabled list since June 23 after posting a disappointing .179/.257/.275 triple-slash line with four home runs and 25 RBI.

Utley has lost the starting second base job to Cesar Hernandez, GM Ruben Amaro announced on July 7. The veteran is owed the remainder of his $15 million salary and will become a free agent after the season, as his option for the 2016 season will not vest.

The Angels have also reportedly shown interest in Utley.

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

Justin Verlander
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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.”