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Justin Verlander exits game with groin tightness


Justin Verlander was removed from his start on Sunday due to right groin tightness, the team announced. The move was precautionary, though Verlander appeared to be in some discomfort while pitching and was visited by club trainer Kevin Rand twice before leaving the game in the third inning. He completed two innings before departing in the third, issuing two runs, six hits and striking out three of 15 batters.

Verlander, 34, was coming off of a strong start against the Royals last Tuesday, during which he fired seven innings of one-run ball in the Tigers’ 1-0 loss. The rest of his season hasn’t gone quite as smoothly — entering Sunday, he carried a 4.50 ERA through 68 innings after a pair of rough outings last month.

While it didn’t look like the right-hander was dealing with anything serious, the Tigers won’t take any chances with their ace. Fellow righty Warwick Saupold replaced Verlander on Sunday afternoon, going four innings with two hits and four strikeouts. The Tigers currently lead the White Sox 4-2 after six.

Bryce Harper defeats Kyle Schwarber 19-18 to win the 2018 Home Run Derby

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Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.

Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.

Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.

As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.