Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander talks parenting and being best pitcher he can be

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander has dominated his sport since his first full season in 2006, when he graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, hurled 100-mph fastballs by the best hitters in baseball and won the American League Rookie of the Year award. But 13 years, two no-hitters, a Cy Young Award, American League MVP and World Series title later, Verlander said he's learning about something even more difficult than baseball: being a parent.

Verlander, 36, told Fox News on Wednesday that adjusting to parenting hasn’t been as simple as slipping on a pair of spikes, but it definitely has its payoffs.

“It’s not the easiest thing in the world but it’s the most rewarding thing in the world,” Verlander said of his daughter, Genevieve.

The pitcher and his supermodel wife, Kate Upton, 26, announced the birth of their baby in November.

“Every day we wake up and see her it’s such a blessing,” he told Fox News. “The timing of things, obviously we try to balance our schedule and taking care of her. I would be lying if I said it was easy but I think we’re doing like any other new parent does and we’re kind of learning on the fly and figuring it out and doing what’s best for our daughter. But also we both have a passion for our own career and we’re not forgetting that either.”

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Verlander is, of course, talking about his impressive MLB career. The pitcher is coming off a dominant 2018 where he had a career-high 290 strikeouts and finished second in the AL Cy Young voting. He said he hopes to continue his success but doesn’t begin the season “setting any particular goals.”

“I just try to be on top of my game, thus Flonase, and all the offseason and spring training,” Verlander said, referencing the product he's representing these days. “I get into the best shape I can and prepare myself to pitch a full season and I’m just ready to go compete and let the chips fall where they may,”

Justin Verlander had a career-high 90 strikeouts in 2018.

Justin Verlander had a career-high 90 strikeouts in 2018. (Getty Images)

Despite dominating the field, Verlander said he's had struggles with seasonal allergies in the past but now has a routine down pat in order to stifle the sneezes.

“I kind of deal with allergies a lot throughout the year because with our travel schedule in baseball we kind of follow around spring, if that makes sense," he said. "You know we’re down in Florida this time of year, so my seasonal allergies start, and then when the season starts in April and May, we’re traveling up north when the seasonal allergies are just starting up there. So I really have to deal with the spring and fall allergies quite a lot more than somebody if they were just to stay put. I’m really thankful for the partnership with Flonase. I’ve been using it for a while because once I found that I include that in my routine, it made a big difference for me.”

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Verlander will start the 2019 season, like every other MLB player, under a slightly new set of rules -- which expand in 2020 -- and include, among other things, a three-batter minimum for pitchers.

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander and model Kate Upton welcomed their first child in November.

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander and model Kate Upton welcomed their first child in November. (Reuters)

“I think the big one the people have issue with is the three-batter minimum for relief pitchers, or for a pitcher entering a ball game,” he said. “I don’t really like tinkering with the strategy of the game per say, but I’m also going to hold judgment and see how things play out.”