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Royals decline option on RHP Luke Hochevar

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The Royals declined their $7 million mutual option on right-handed reliever Luke Hochevar on Saturday, per a team announcement. Hochevar received a $500,000 buyout and will enter free agency on November 7.

The right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery back in 2014, but enjoyed a resurgence with the Royals the following season, pitching to a 3.73 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings and picking up three postseason appearances in the Royals’ 2015 championship run. In 2016, the 33-year-old saw just 37 1/3 innings with the club before undergoing season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome in August, and finished his year with a 3.86 ERA, 40 strikeouts, and a 4.44 K/BB rate.

Last week, Justin Dodd of the Kansas City Star explored the possibility of Hochevar’s return to Kansas City in 2017, mentioning the club’s potential interest in a “low-risk, one-year deal.” Any negotiations will have to be made after the reliever enters free agency on Tuesday.

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.”

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