Astros' Justin Verlander to start All-Star Game for American League

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Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Minute Maid Park on July 05, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

HOUSTON - Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander was named the American League starting pitcher for Tuesday's All-Star Game in Cleveland.

Verlander will make his second career All-Star Game start. He started in 2012 as a member of the Detroit Tigers. He was an All-Star in 2007, 2009-13, 2018-19.

"Any time you get the opportunity to represent -- not only yourself, but your organization, the American League, Major League Baseball -- it's such an honor. I don't take these games for granted. I had the opportunity to go a few years in a row when I was younger and then I got hurt and missed a few years in a row, and I think it made me appreciate being an All-Star more," Verlander said Monday. "Having an opportunity to start another one at 36 years old... and all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to have that come to fruition and be able to be out here and do this thing again, it means a lot to me."

He's the fifth Astro to start the midsummer classic, joining Dallas Keuchel (2015), Roger Clemens (2004), Mike Scott (1987) and J.R. Richard (1980).

"Being able to step in and help that city win a championship, I think it connected myself to (Houston). To be on the mound with the Astros logo on my chest starting the All-Star Game means a lot," he said.

Verlander is 10-4 this season with a 2.98 ERA, a 0.81 WHIP (MLB best) and 153 strikeouts (T-3rd in MLB).

American League All-Star team manager Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox said Verlander continues to get better.

"I had the pleasure to coach him in 2017, he was the reason we won the World Series. Also his career, so far so good I think," Cora said.

Verlander joked that he doesn't touch 100 mph on the radar guns anymore, but that maybe he would try to do so during the All-Star Game.

The Astros have six All-Stars on this year's edition: Verlander, Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley, George Springer, Gerrit Cole and Ryan Pressly.

Springer will bat leadoff for the AL, with Bregman batting sixth and Brantley eighth.

Cora said Pressley would probably pitch the seventh inning.

Bregman will take part in Monday night's Home Run Derby for the second straight year.

 

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