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Justin Verlander upset by Jack Clark’s ‘moronic’ steroids accusation

Justin Verlander TigersLike Albert Pujols, Justin Verlander is upset with Jack Clark for accusing him of using steroids. The Detroit Tigers pitcher is not threatening legal action against the former all-star, but he does think the radio host’s accusations this week were moronic.

On his new radio show and in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Clark said Albert Pujols’ former trainer told him Pujols used steroids. Also on his radio show, Clark accused Verlander of juicing.

“Verlander was like Nolan Ryan, he threw 97, 98, 100 miles an hour from the first inning to the ninth inning,” Clark said on the air, per the Post-Dispatch. “He got that big contract, now he can barely reach 92, 93. What happened to it? He has no arm problems, nothing’s wrong. It’s just the signs are there.”

Verlander, who has been one of the hardest throwers in the game since breaking into the bigs in 2005, dismissed Clark’s accusations.

“It’s moronic,” Verlander said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Look at the source. It’s moronic to talkabout something you know nothing about and clearly … he’s not watching.

“There is no merit in what he is talking about. He’s not watching me pitch. Because if did he would’ve seen my last start, right? He’s saying I’m struggling to hit 93, 94? I averaged 97 and hit a 100 in my last start. So clearly he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Verlander is right — he touched 101 mph during his start on Tuesday. His velocity has been down this season, but that is following a trend that has existed since 2009. Verlander peaked with an average fastball velocity of 95.6 mph in 2009. He averaged 95.4 mph in 2010; 95.0 in 2011; 94.3 in 2012; and now 93.0 this season, per FanGraphs’ metrics. He’s having a down year by his standards, but he hasn’t been bad. He’s still been a very valuable pitcher. He’s also 30 years old and has thrown over 1,700 innings in his career. Pitchers tend to wear down over the years, and that seems like a more likely explanation for Verlander’s problems this season than steroids.

Jack Clark accuses Albert Pujols of using steroids, also mentions Justin Verlander

Albert-Pujols-Angels-slumpFormer MLB slugger Jack Clark began working as a radio host on WGNU 920 AM’s afternoon slot this week, and he has already managed to gain national attention. Clark, who belted 340 home runs over his 18-year MLB career, has mentioned twice how former personal trainer Chris Mihlfeld told him he injected Albert Pujols with performance-enhancing drugs.

Mihlfeld used to be Pujols’ personal trainer. In 2006, Mihlfeld’s name was linked to performance-enhancing drugs after Jason Grimsley, one of his former clients, admitted to taking steroids. That resulted in Pujols having to defend himself against PED accusations, which has has done several times since.

During a phone interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday, Clark spoke about how he worked with Mihlfeld in 2000 as a coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers and said the former personal trainer tried to encourage him to take steroids like Pujols was. Clark claims he was simply looking for a nutrition program, which led to the following exchange with Mihlfeld.

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Justin Verlander’s mom hung up on Dave Dombrowski day he was drafted

Justin Verlander TigersJustin Verlander was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers and developed into a Cy Young Award winner and MVP. Verlander knew that he was going to be selected highly in the draft, but not everybody in his household was prepared for the phone calls he would receive.

In a clip recorded for MLB Network’s coverage of the 2013 MLB Draft, Verlander shared a story about the draft party his family held in ’04. Because of all the commotion from the party, the Tigers ace says that his mother accidentally hung up on Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, who had called the house after drafting the pitcher.

“I had a party at my parents’ house,” Verlander recalled. “I remember not hearing my name being called because my dad couldn’t get the Internet working fast enough. So he’s running around the house knowing that the draft has started and he can’t get it hooked up. So he finally gets it hooked up, and I didn’t hear my name called.

“So we got a call from the Tigers saying that they had selected me. And then Dave Dombrowski, who was the GM for the Tigers and still is, called my house. My mom picks up the phone and she’s like, ‘Who’s this? Oh, we’re having a party, he’ll call you back later.’ And hung up on him. My dad said, ‘Who was that?’ She told him, and he was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what are you doing?’

“So it was a good time, it was fun.”

Pretty funny story. The good news is that it could have been worse. At least Verlander wasn’t prank-called on draft day like this guy.

Justin Verlander wants to hit in the Home Run Derby

Justin Verlander wants in on the Home Run Derby at the MLB All-Star Game, and the Detroit Tigers ace is trying to launch a write-in campaign to get himself in the event.

The whole thing started when a fan tweeted to Verlander on Friday telling him she voted for the pitcher to participate in the Derby:

Verlander loved the idea and began encouraging his Twitter followers to vote for him as a write-in candidate for the Derby.

He even changed his Twitter avatar to a photo of him batting:

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Jordany Valdespin wasn’t wearing a cup when Justin Verlander nailed him in the nuts

Jordany-Valdespin-MetsA lot was made of New York Mets utility man Jordany Valdespin being hit in the man region by a Justin Verlander fastball on Monday, but many people do not understand the severity of the situation. Fortunately, Valdespin’s health has checked out fine. The thing that made the situation so scary is that he was not wearing a protective cup.

“You would think if you are starting at second base, you would be smart enough to wear a cup,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.

After he left the ballpark, the NY Post was told Valdespin wasn’t wearing a cup when he was drilled with a 94-mph fastball. Did he think you can’t get hit in the nuts during spring training just because the games don’t count? Infielders almost always wear a cup, and it’s probably smart for every position player to do the same. In fact, Valdespin proved that even designated hitters would benefit from using an athletic supporter.

“He took a hack at the first pitch and the next one — he already hit one bomb — and the next one he totally squared [toward] me,” Verlander explained. “And I’m like, ‘Oh God, this isn’t going to be good.’ Right out of the hand it’s like, ‘Oh, [bleep]! That is right at his [genitals].’”

Valdespin said everything is “working good” when reporters caught up with him after the painful experience. Collins has warned the 25-year-old about some of his antics potentially getting him into trouble, such as irritating Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg a couple of weeks ago when he faked a bunt to lead off a spring training game. If you want to get under the skin of opposing pitchers, it’s probably even more critical that you protect the family jewels.

Kate Upton denies she is dating Justin Verlander: ‘I’m single right now’ (Video)

Kate-Upton-singleThere has never been actual confirmation that Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton are an item. Family members have seemed to confirm that the two are dating, but Verlander avoided the subject when he was asked about it back in October. On Thursday, Upton provided the most concrete information we have heard since the rumors began.

During an interview with FOX 2′s Jason Carr, Upton was asked about her rumored vacation in the Virgin Islands with Verlander around New Year’s. She was also asked if they planned to go public with their romance anytime soon, and that’s when things got a bit awkward.

“Actually I’m single right now,” Upton replied. “So, um, I spent my holiday in Melbourne, Fla.”

Everyone enjoyed a good laugh after that, but Upton didn’t look like she was joking. Were the rumors never true? Did Verlander and Upton split up? Is this my chance? Talk about a mind-blow.

H/T Big League Stew

Justin Verlander sounds interested in exploring free agency

Justin-Verlander-TigersJustin Verlander is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2014 season if the Detroit Tigers do not sign him to an extension before then. Earlier this week, the Seattle Mariners signed ace Felix Hernandez to a seven-year, $175 million deal. Hernandez is only 26 and already one of the best pitchers in the game, so the deal can be considered somewhat of a hometown discount for the Mariners. What does it mean for Verlander?

Verlander won the American League Cy Young and MVP awards in 2011. He has led the AL in strikeouts in three of the past four seasons and has been incredibly durable, pitching more than 200 innings in every season since 2007. The right-hander will be 31 in 2014, and speculation has already begun that he could be the first pitcher ever to ink a $200 million contract. On Tuesday, John Paul Morosi of FOX Sports asked Verlander if he is curious about the open market.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I think that’d be a blast. If I have two more years like I just had, it would be pretty interesting. You know how competitive I am. It’s kind of fun thinking about having teams battle for you.”

That’s easy for Verlander to say at the moment, since the Tigers have not opened any type of discussion about a potential extension. However, he did add that he would love to stay in Detroit if the team had him in their long-term plans.

“If they were to start talking about an extension and say, ‘We only have a two-year window to win a World Series,’ that’s not exactly what I want to hear — and I don’t think that’s the case whatsoever,” he said. “You look at Mr. Ilitch. He’s been — in my opinion — the best owner in baseball. A year ago he signed a guy [Fielder] to a 9-year, $200-million-something dollar deal. That shows you it’s not just a ‘window’ plan. It’s a ‘future’ plan.

“If they did want to extend (my contract), obviously that would take quite a commitment on their part. That shows a sign, too, that they’re planning for the future.”

No matter how loyal a player is to his team, the concept of teams fighting it out for the right to spend $200 million on you is fun to think about. The Tigers are one of a handful of teams who can afford someone like Verlander. If they’re wise, they won’t let him hit the open market.

Photo credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE