NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Verlander allowed two hits over 4 2/3 scoreless innings in his first mound appearance in more than a month, pitching Friday for the New York Mets’ Double-A farm team.
The 40-year-old right-hander struck out six and walked one for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies against Cleveland’s Akron RubberDucks, throwing 52 of 69 pitches for strikes in a 6-1 win.
Verlander could make his Mets debut next week at the Detroit Tigers.
A three-time Cy Young Award winner, Verlander had not pitched since his fifth and final spring training appearance on March 26. He threw 95 pitches that day against Miami.
He had been slated to start the Mets’ third game of the season, at the Marlins on April 1, but the Mets announced before their March 30 opener that he had been put on the injured list because of a strained upper back muscle, what the team termed a low-grade teres major strain.
Verlander signed an $86.67 million, two-year contract with the Mets during the offseason after going 18-4 with a 1.75 ERA in 28 starts last year and helping the Houston Astros win the World Series. He won his third Cy Young.
Verlander missed nearly all of the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to Tommy John surgery.
New York’s rotation is missing José Quintana (broken left rib) and Carlos Carrasco (right elbow inflammation).
Max Scherzer is serving a 10-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s prohibitions on foreign substances. Barring rainouts, he is eligible to return Monday.
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