FILE - In this July 24, 2019, file photo, Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws to an Oakland Athletics batter during a baseball game in Houston. Verlander has been awarded his second AL Cy Young Award. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke, File)

MLB Spring Training Opens – Justin Verlander Talks Being With Mets

After missing the 2021 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, then helping steer the Houston Astros to a World Series title, Justin Verlander agreed to a two-year $86 million contract with the New York Mets. Now? With spring training opening, it’s time for him to acclimate, adjust and get ready for the new season with a new team.

Adjusting to a New Team

A simple way to put it, it’s like the first day of school. It’s his first spring training with a new team since all the way back in 2005, when he made his professional debut and played for two of Detroit’s minor league affiliates: the Lakeland Flying Tigers (A+) and the Erie SeaWolves (AA).

“This is like the first day of new school for me.”

Whether it’s learning all the new names and learning to get to know everyone or if it’s reuniting with old friends, there’s a lot to take in when joining a new team.

New York & the Mets

This is where he feels like he needs to be. Health has been great and it’s go time now. He’s excited to represent the city, having lived in and fallen in love with it years ago. The expectations are high, and he knows and embraces it. It’s an opportunity that he’s taking in stride.

“It comes with a lot of expectations and pressure, but that’s why we play this game.”

Starting on opening day is a lot. Verlander doesn’t expect to start day one, that wasn’t why he went to the Mets. Having started many seasons day one, he cherishes it, it’s a wonderful celebration, but it’s not the goal.

Reuniting with an Old Friend

Justin Verlander has been around the MLB for a while, but he started in Detroit. Someone he played with? Max Scherzer. After parting ways years back, the two are back together in New York where Scherzer has been since last year.

They played together for five years in Detroit, winning a combined 169 games and two American League Cy Young Awards. Alongside Anibal Sánchez, they were considered a super-rotation. However, they only made the World Series once and fell short of winning it. They want to change that now.

“Maybe it wasn’t in the cards for us then, maybe it is now.”

The duo is excited to get back together. In different situations in their lives, they can look back on Detroit and try to achieve the goals now that they couldn’t back then.

About Josiah Caswell

Class of 2026 at the University of Florida. Majoring in Journalism on the sports & media track.

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