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How Kate Upton saved Justin Verlander

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This is must-click link material: a story by Brandon Sneed at Bleacher Report about the Justin Verlander Renaissance.

You know the basics: Cy Young/MVP-winning pitcher who began to break down in 2013, who soon became more famous for who his girlfriend was than his pitching and who, somehow, got back to Cy Young form by 2016 and last year helped lead the Houston Astros to the World Series title.

This story is about the “somehow.” Turns out that that girlfriend, Kate Upton, played a huge, huge part in the Renaissance. Not just as some sort of cliche moral support device — though she certainly provided that in spades — but in helping him find a doctor who, in turn, helped figure out what was truly wrong with Verlander and helped him rebuild his health and his delivery to get back to his old elite level. The Tigers did not comment about how Upton and Verlander’s new doctor could help him figure it out when they could not, but I suppose that’s all rather academic.

A good read for a couple of reasons. First, because it covers an elite ballplayer’s comeback, and those stories are always good. But second, because of a reason Lindsey Adler of The Athletic noted a little bit ago:

Yup.

Report: Joe Girardi waiting for opening with Cubs

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Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports that former Yankees manager Joe Girardi took himself out of the running for the Reds’ and Rangers’ managerial openings. The “industry speculation” is that Girardi is waiting a year for a potential opening to manage the Cubs.

Current Cubs manager Joe Maddon has one more year left on his contract. While the Cubs have played quite well under his tenure, the front office and Maddon haven’t had any discussions about an extension, which means 2019 might be his final year with the club. Under Maddon’s leadership since 2015, the Cubs won the championship in 2016 and compiled a 387-261 (.597) record during the regular season.

Girardi, 54, spent his first four seasons in the majors with the Cubs and another three towards the end of his career. He managed the Marlins for one year in 2006, then managed the Yankees from 2008-17, leading them to a World Series in ’09 and an overall regular season record of 910-710 (.562).