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Braves trade Kelly Johnson to the Mets

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before but the Braves have traded Kelly Johnson to the New York Mets. In return the Mets are sending minor leaguer Akeel Morris to Atlanta.

Johnson is finishing his third tour of duty with the Braves. The second tour of duty ended when the Braves traded him to the Mets on July 24, 2015. That season ended a couple of months later, he became a free agent and signed back with Atlanta. Now he’s heading to New York again. It’s sort of like those diagrams of how the water cycle works that you remember from junior high science class. At some point he’ll evaporate in New York and rain down in Atlanta again to complete the cycle.

Johnson is needed due to the extended absence of David Wright. The Mets are also missing Lucas Duda and could be out one Juan Lagares for a while too. Johnson will likely take over third base duties but don’t be surprised to see him playing first and some outfield too. He’s hung around the majors for a long time precisely because he can play multiple positions, including second base and all the corners. He even played a game at shortstop for the Mets last year, but don’t expect that to be a common occurrence. On the year Johnson is hitting poorly (.215/.273/.289) but he’s been an above average bat the past two seasons. He’s 34. He’s played for eight teams, including the entire AL East, which is quite a trick.

Akeel Morris is a 23-year-old righty reliever who currently plays for Double-A Binghamton. In 154 minor league games he’s 14-15 with a 2.91 ERA. He has struck out 12 per nine innings in his career but has walked five per nine, so yeah. Binghamtom is giving him trouble this year. He has a 1.382 WHIP and a 4.62 ERA in 22 appearances.

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.”

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