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Rockies option Jon Gray to Triple-A

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Rockies right-hander Jon Gray has been optioned back to Triple-A Albuquerque, per a team announcement on Saturday. A replacement has yet to be officially named to cover Gray’s start against the Giants next Tuesday, though fellow right-hander Antonio Senzatela is likely to be the club’s first choice.

The 26-year-old Gray slumped to some career-worst totals in 2018, leading National League pitchers in games started (17) but also hits allowed (108) and earned runs (59). He posted a 7-7 record with a 5.77 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 11.6 SO/9 through 92 innings. It’s likely that his last start sealed his fate: On Thursday, the Rockies eked out a 9-8 win over the Giants in spite of the right-hander’s five runs and 71 pitches scattered across just four innings. MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg adds that Gray had seen a sizable dip in his fastball velocity as well, tipping the club off to more significant underlying issues (manager Bud Black, for his part, suggested that it was Gray’s inconsistency and mental hang-ups that had a greater effect on his sudden decline). While it’s hard to believe he’ll have much difficulty regaining his form in Triple-A, the Rockies don’t appear to have set a firm timetable for his return to the majors.

Tapia, 24, hasn’t set foot in the big leagues this season. The outfielder impressed during his limited tryout with the team in 2017, raking .288/.329/.425 with 16 extra-base hits and five stolen bases in 171 plate appearances. It’s not certain that he can replicate those numbers again in 2018, but he looked strong in his first three months in Triple-A with a .308 average, 10 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 340 PA.

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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