Retire? Verlander set for ‘second half’ of career
With one World Series ring in his possession and a second in his sights, veteran pitcher Justin Verlander said he hasn’t given any thought as to walking away from baseball.
With Verlander taking the mound in Game 1 of the ALCS for the Houston Astros on Saturday night, the 35-year-old right-hander was asked if, after 14 seasons, he’s pondered retirement.
“Just keep swimming,” Verlander told reporters on Thursday. “That’s me. Just keep pitching. Just head down, prepare myself and just keep pitching. And at the end of my career, hopefully when I look up and all is said and done, that’s cemented my legacy.”
But for now, he’s keeping his head down and staying focused on the task at hand: beating the Boston Red Sox.
Time after time, Verlander came up with big games when the Astros needed them most during a heated AL West race with the Oakland Athletics. He finished the season with a 16-9 record, a 2.52 ERA (third in the AL) and a career-high 290 strikeouts, which led the American League.
He earned the win in Game 1 of the Astros’ sweep of the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS.
“I think the goal is to be healthy and to be strong as long as I can,” Verlander told reporters. “I think as long as I pay attention to my body and I take care of things that typically would creep in and start to cause issues as you get older, I think you can address those early on.
“And I think treating that stuff before it becomes an issue is what makes it not become an issue, as easy as that sounds. But there’s no set number for me. I think I just want to pitch as long as I can.”
So just how long will that be for the seven-time All-Star and the winner of the 2011 MVP and Cy Young awards?
“I’ve had a great learning experience the last five years or so,” Verlander, who is signed with the Astros through 2020, told reporters. “And I think that’s going to be what prepares me for the second half of my career.
“I said second half, by the way.”
October 13, 2018 at 05:35AM