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The Houston Astros are closing in on a two-year extension worth $66 million for ace pitcher Justin Verlander, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Verlander, 36, went 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA and an American League-leading 290 strikeout in 34 starts last season, his first full season in Houston since coming over from Detroit in a trade in 2017. Last season, the 2011 AL Cy Young winner finished second for the third time in voting for that award and was part of the top five for the seventh time. He also was the league Most Valuable Player in 2011. Overall, Verlander is 21-9 in 39 starts with the Astros, posting a 2.32 ERA and striking out 333 batters in 248 innings. The Astros won the World Series in 2017 following the trade for Verlander. The Astros already reached extensions with All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman (six years, $100 million) and righty reliever Ryan Pressly (two years, $17.5 million) in the past few days. Bregman, who turns 25 on March 30, finished fifth in the American League MVP voting last season after batting .286 with a league-high 51 doubles, 31 homers, 103 RBIs and 105 runs scored. Pressley, 30, is under contract for $2.9 million in 2019 and would have been eligible for free agency after this season. The deal covers the 2020 and 2021 seasons. --Field Level Media