PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP)Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander are back together for the first time in nearly a decade.
The pair of three-time Cy Young Award winners threw off adjacent bullpen mounds Friday at the New York Mets training complex. The 38-year-old Scherzer and Verlander, who turns 40 on Monday, were teammates on the Detroit Tigers from 2010-14.
”They’re going to make the club,” manager Buck Showalter quipped.
Showalter hasn’t announced which will start the March 30 opener at Miami.
”What’s driving them?” Showalter said. ”What keeps them chasing perfection every time they cock their arm? Because they have `it.’ What drives? Is it a fear of failure? I don’t know. Who cares? But they got `it.”’
The manager wasn’t paying close attention to the bullpen sessions.
”I’m not a lurker who stands behind them like, ooh, ahh,” Showalter said. ”I’m behind a wall, behind a bush, watch a little video of it.”
Scherzer, an eight-time All-Star, signed with the Mets before last season for a $130 million, three-year contract.
After winning the AL Cy Young Award and helping the Houston Astros to their second World Series title, Verlander joined New York for a two-year deal worth $86.67 million, matching Scherzer’s average salary. The nine-time All-Star fills an opening created when Jacob deGrom left for Texas.
”He’s a winning pitcher,” said Scherzer, a World Series champion with Washington in 2019. ”We’re trying to win the whole thing. You need good pitchers on your staff in order to win. He fits that bill.”
Finishing his bullpen session first, Verlander leaned back against the bullpen fence watching Scherzer complete his work.
Scherzer’s wife Erica gave birth on Jan. 30 to daughter Nikki, who joined daughters Brooklyn and Kacey, and son Derek. All the children are under 6.
”Dad duty,” Scherzer said. ”I’m working two jobs here right now. Baseball during the day, parenting at night.”
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