LEADING OFF: Verlander set for TJ, Bumgarner seeks 1st win

FILE - In this March 3, 2020, file photo, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander reacts after a pitch during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla. The Astros announced Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, that Verlander needs Tommy John surgery and could miss the entire 2021 season. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A look at what's happening around the majors Sunday:



Justin Verlander’s bid to rejoin the Astros for a playoff push is over. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner says he needs Tommy John surgery, likely putting him out of action through all of next year.

The 37-year-old right-hander threw to hitters on the side Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

The Astros hold the eighth and final spot in the AL playoff race.

Verlander went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA last year, striking out a career-high 300 and throwing his third no-hitter. He pitched 223 innings, most in the majors, and then made six more starts in the postseason as the Astros reached the World Series.


Madison Bumgarner makes another attempt at his first win since signing an $85 million, five-year contract in the offseason as a free agent with the Diamondbacks.

The 2014 World Series MVP is 0-4 with an 8.53 ERA in seven starts for Arizona. The left-hander also has been slowed by back trouble.

Bumgarner is set to start at Houston


Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire announced his immediate retirement Saturday barely over an hour before a game against Cleveland, saying he’s been “stressed out” and not feeling well. Gardenhire, who turns 63 next month, was in his third season as Detroit’s manager after he previously had a 13-year run with the Twins that included six AL Central titles.

Gardenhire missed time recently because of stomach issues, and he indicated Saturday that the stress of managing was difficult.

“It’s been wonderful here, but I also know I have to take care of myself,” Gardenhire said. “When you come to the ballpark, and you’re stressed out all day, and your hands are shaking, that’s not fun. I’ve got grandbabies, I’ve got kids that I need to take care of, and my wife, and as I told Al, I’m going to step back and take care of myself and try to get healthy.”

Bench coach Lloyd McClendon is taking over as manager for the rest of the season, which is scheduled to end Sept. 27. Detroit was 21-29 heading into Saturday night’s game and was unlikely to make the postseason.


Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish (7-2, 1.86) likely has two starts left to solidify his candidacy for the NL Cy Young Award, including a primetime Sunday night tilt against Minnesota. His top competitors are likely two-time defending winner Jacob deGrom of the Mets, Atlanta’s Max Fried and Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer. He’ll share the mound with Twins RHP Jose Berrios (4-3, 4.15).


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