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:
LOS ANGELES — Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, and Tommy Kahnle were activated by the New York Yankees ahead of their weekend series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
New York cleared three roster spots after a 1-0 loss at Seattle, optioning infielder-outfielders Oswaldo Cabrera and Franchy Cordero to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre along with left-hander Matt Krook.
Stanton, Donaldson and Kahnle all played in a rehab game for Double-A Somerset. Stanton was hitless in three at-bats in his first appearance since injuring his left hamstring on April 15.
Donaldson went 1 for 4 in his fourth rehab game as he comes back from a strained right hamstring originally sustained on April 5.
Kahnle pitched one inning, giving up one run and one hit and walking two. He has been out since spring training with right biceps tendinitis.
Aaron Boone said he wasn’t concerned about Stanton returning after playing in just one rehab game. He did say that Stanton likely will be a designated hitter for a couple of weeks after rejoining the Yankees.
New York is missing centerfielder Harrison Bader, who strained his right hamstring against the Mariners and went on the injured list the next day.
Left-hander Carlos Rodón, sidelined since spring training by a sore left forearm and an ailing back, was transferred to the 60-day injured list.