Now 40, Verlander still looks strong this spring for Mets


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

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — 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.

New York Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros, Friday, March 10, 2023, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

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 a 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 solidifed 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.


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