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#pounditTuesday, October 19, 2021

Justin Verlander got ‘chewed out’ by MLB before All-Star Game

Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander made headlines earlier in the week when he openly accused Major League Baseball of lying about juicing balls, and he had to have known league officials would not appreciate the remarks. What he may not have known, however, was that he would be scolded over them.

As Jayson Stark of The Athletic put it, Verlander got called into the principal’s office on Monday afternoon. The veteran right-hander received a stern talking to from Joe Torre, Jim Leyland and at least one other MLB official. Fellow Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerritt Cole said after Tuesday night’s All-Star Game that he was the one who informed Verlander the bigwigs were waiting to speak with him.

“I may actually have facilitated that meeting,” Cole said. “I saw Jim and Joe were in (manager Alex Cora’s) office. And they said hi. Then Jim, in not a profanity-laden way, said, ‘Get Justin in here right now.’ So I came out and said, ‘Hey, Skip wants to see you.’ And he said, ‘OK.’ Then he comes back and he goes, ‘Man, I just got chewed out.’”

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has admitted the balls being used in games are different now than they were several years ago, but he insists no changes were made at the directive of the league. Verlander on Monday called that a “f—ing joke” and ridiculed Manfred for denying it even though the league purchased Rawlings — the manufacturer of official game balls — last year.

“Manfred the first time he came in, what’d he say? He said we want more offense,” Verlander said. “All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced? It’s not coincidence. We’re not idiots.”

According to Stark, Torre, Leyland and company essentially told Verlander they love his passion but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That came after Manfred doubled down on his denial of the league juicing balls and said team owners are actually concerned about the record number of home runs being hit.

Verlander isn’t the only pitcher who has called upon Major League Baseball to simply admit balls have been juiced, but Manfred is not backing down. One of Verlander’s teammates even seemed offended by the juiced ball talk, and Verlander admitted on Tuesday night that “I need to dig a little further.” Perhaps he is starting to reconsider his stance.

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