Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend

Verlander making progress after Tommy John surgery

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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander (Goochland High School, Old Dominion) is doing well in his recovery from Tommy John surgery and says he still has unbridled passion for the game at 38.

However, the two-time Cy Young Award winner can’t deny that he’s loved the extra time at home with his supermodel wife Kate Upton and 2½-year-old daughter Genevieve over the past few months.

His daughter was in the room but off camera as Verlander spoke to reporters on Friday. Genevieve, whom he calls Vivi, began saying “daddy” while he answered a question, eliciting an adorable response from the right-hander.

He smiled broadly before putting a finger to his mouth and whispering: “shhhhhh, please.” Later when she began babbling again, he sweetly told her she’d have to go in the other room if she couldn’t be quiet.

“This little girl that’s sitting right behind the camera right now is just everything,” he said. “It’s such a special thing, special bond, father-daughter. ... I love the game of baseball. I still have so much passion for it and I’m still playing ‘til the wheels fall off. But this time that I’ll never get back has completely changed my perspectiv­e of things.”

Verlander is throwing from 90 feet and feeling great, but said it’s far too early to have a timeline for his return.

Verlander made just one start in 2020, pitching six innings on July 24 in a win over Seattle on opening day before being placed on the injured list with a strained right forearm. He attempted a comeback after he was injured, but announced on Sept. 19, 2020, that he needed Tommy John surgery and underwent the procedure on Oct. 1.

Verlander is making $33 million this year, then is eligible for free agency. He said he hasn’t had any conversati­ons with the Astros about his future with the team and said he wouldn’t expect there to be any until much further down the road.

Twins place Buxton on injured list with hip strain

Outfielder Byron Buxton was put on the 10-day injured list by the Minnesota Twins with a strained right hip. The Twins also announced before Friday’s game at Detroit that they have selected the contract of outfielder Trevor Larnach from Triple-A St. Paul.

The injury interrupts a stellar start for the 27-year-old Buxton, who is hitting .370 with nine home runs and five stolen bases. Buxton has played over 100 games just once in his big league career.

Larnach could make his big league debut. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the Twins designated lefthander Brandon Waddell for assignment.

Reds’ Votto sidelined by broken thumb

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken left thumb that could sideline him for a month. Votto was struck on the thumb with a pitch by Chicago White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel on Wednesday. Votto is not expected to need surgery, but the team expects him to be out at least three weeks and maybe more.

The 37-year-old is batting .226 with five homers and 17 RBIs. He batted .286 and hit his 300th career home run on Reds’ recently completed homestand.

Indians catcher Pérez has finger surgery

Cleveland Indians two-time Gold Glove catcher Roberto Pérez will miss at least two months after surgery Friday on a fractured right ring finger.

There is no definitive timeline for Pérez’s recovery, but the Indians are planning to be without him for a significan­t period.

“It’s not weeks,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “It’s months.”

Pérez’s loss is a big blow to the Indians, who entered Friday night’s series opener against Cincinnati leading the AL Central after winning nine of 11. The 32-year-old is one of baseball’s best defensive catchers and handles the Indians’ strong pitching staff.

Phillies: Philadelph­ia got a boost with Jean Segura coming off the 10-day injured list and Bryce Harper returning from a sore left wrist. Harper and Segura started in Friday’s NL East matchup against the Atlanta Braves. Segura started at second base in his return from a right quad strain. Harper missed four consecutiv­e games with a sore left wrist.

Friday’s game

Cubs 3, Pirates 2: Zach Davies allowed five hits in seven scoreless innings, Rex Brothers got his first save in eight years and Chicago held on to beat visiting Pittsburgh, extending the Cubs’ winning streak to four.

Joc Pederson had three hits and an RBI for the Cubs, who were coming off a three-game sweep of the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Javier Báez and David Bote had two hits each as Chicago got back to .500 at 16-16.

Davies (2-2), acquired from San Diego in a seven-player deal in December, had his best outing for the Cubs on a chilly day at Wrigley Field, with the wind blowing in.

The slender right-hander limited the Pirates to five singles while walking one and hitting a batter, and he lowered his ERA from 8.22 ERA to 6.30.

Pittsburgh has lost seven of eight and is last in the NL Central at 13-18. The Pirates have six runs in their past five games.

The Cubs placed center fielder Ian Happ on the 10day injured list retroactiv­e to May 4 because of bruised ribs.

 ?? THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Nationals star Juan Soto runs the bases after his two-run homer in the ninth inning against the Yankees in New York. Washington erupted for eight runs in the eighth and ninth innings to win 11-4.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Nationals star Juan Soto runs the bases after his two-run homer in the ninth inning against the Yankees in New York. Washington erupted for eight runs in the eighth and ninth innings to win 11-4.

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