Now 40, Justin Verlander still looks strong this spring for Mets

verlander mets
Rhona Wise/USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It’s a fair assumption that Father Time will catch up with Justin Verlander one of these days.

The three-time AL Cy Young Award winner is putting up quite a fight.

The 40-year-old Verlander signed with the New York Mets during the offseason and looks like he’s got plenty of good pitching left. The hard-throwing righty has a 2.25 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 16 innings in four starts during Grapefruit League action.

The Mets are hoping to squeeze another elite season out of Verlander and Max Scherzer, who is 38 years old. Scherzer has also had a solid spring training, giving up just one earned run over 11 2/3 innings.

Verlander is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, helping the Astros win the World Series and the Cy Young with an 18-4 record and 1.75 ERA.

Here are a few more standouts during MLB’s spring training games in Arizona and Florida:

Ozzie Albies, 2B, Braves: The two-time All-Star is trying to bounce back from an injury-riddled 2022 season. The 26-year-old looks like he’s back to his old self during Grapefruit League action with three homers and 11 RBIs.

Shane Bieber, RHP, Guardians: The 2020 AL Cy Young winner has quietly been one of the game’s most dominant pitchers over the past four seasons. That success shows no signs of stopping: The 27-year-old has a 1.62 ERA through four spring starts.

Jonathan India, 2B, Reds: The 2021 NL Rookie of the Year went through a bit of a sophomore slump, batting just .249 with 10 homers last season. He’s batting .286 in spring training with a .415 OBP, one homer, eight RBIs and three stolen bases.

Kevin Gausman, RHP, Blue Jays: The 32-year-old had a slow start to his career but has pitched his best the past two seasons. He was an All-Star with the Giants in 2021 before going to the Blue Jays last season and finishing with a 12-10 record and 3.35 ERA. He’s looked great so far in the Grapefruit League, giving up just one unearned run and 18 strikeouts through 13 2/3 innings.

Jake Cronenworth, 2B, Padres: The two-time All-Star has turned into a versatile piece in the Padres lineup, playing first, second and third base. He’s off to another good start this spring, batting .432 with two homers in 37 spring at-bats.

Nick Lodolo, LHP, Reds: The 6-foot-6 lefty had an encouraging start to his MLB career last season, with a 3.66 ERA and 131 strikeouts in his first 103 1/3 innings. The former first-round pick has solidified his spot in the rotation with a great spring: He has a 1.93 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 14 innings through his first four starts.

New bill to build Athletics stadium on Las Vegas Strip caps Nevada’s cost at $380 million

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill introduced in the Nevada Legislature would give the Oakland Athletics up to $380 million for a potential 30,000 seat, $1.5 billion retractable roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.

The bulk of the public funding would come from $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state and $120 million in county bonds, which can vary based on interest rate returns. Clark County also would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The A’s have been looking for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The team had sought to build a stadium in Fremont, San Jose and finally the Oakland waterfront, all ideas that never materialized.

The plan in the Nevada Legislature won’t directly raise taxes. It can move forward with a simply majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little more than a week to consider the proposal before they adjourn June 5, though it could be voted on if a special session is called.

The Athletics have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has said he is disappointed the team didn’t negotiate with Oakland as a “true partner.”

Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises.

The team and Las Vegas are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit the city annually to help fill the stadium. The 30,000-seat capacity would make it the smallest MLB stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet June 13-15 in New York.

The plan faces an uncertain path in the Nevada Legislature. Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A’s, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoes the five budget bills, which he has threatened to do as many of his priorities have stalled or faded in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Under the bill, the Clark County Board of Commissioners would create a homelessness prevention and assistance fund along the stadium’s area in coordination with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. There, they would manage funds for services, including emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, rehabilitation and counseling services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be up for renewal after 30 years.

Nevada’s legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in a statement.

“No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members,” Yeager said.