Verlander, Cole first teammates with 250 strikeouts since Schilling, Johnson

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Facing his former team, Astros starter Justin Verlander achieved his 250th strikeout of the season on Monday night, fanning Tigers catcher James McCann for the first out of the second inning. Rotation-mate Gerrit Cole already has 251 strikeouts on the year — the highest total in the American League. Verlander and Cole are the first teammates to strike out 250 batters or more in a season since the Diamondbacks’ Randy Johnson (334) and Curt Schilling (316) in 2002.

Verlander was pitching at Comerica Park for the first time as a visitor. He went seven innings, yielding two runs on six hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts on 104 pitches.

Verlander now has a 15-9 record, a 2.72 ERA, and a 258/35 K/BB ratio over 188 innings. The veteran right-hander will certainly be in the discussion for the AL Cy Young Award after the season.

Orioles option LHP Bruce Zimmermann to minors

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The Baltimore Orioles have optioned left-handers Bruce Zimmermann and Nick Vespi and reassigned infielder Lewin Díaz, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez and catcher Mark Kolozsvary to minor league camp.

The Orioles announced the moves Monday.

Baltimore’s spring training roster now has 46 players.

Zimmermann made 13 starts last season. He went 2-5 with a 5.99 ERA.

The competition for rotation spots with the Orioles has been a significant story during spring training, but after the team acquired Cole Irvin and Kyle Gibson in the offseason – and with top prospect Grayson Rodriguez in the mix as well – there were a lot of pitchers Zimmermann needed to beat out.