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Justin Verlander still remembers Erick Aybar’s bunt five years ago

Detroit Tigers v Seattle Mariners

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10: Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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Erick Aybar is now a teammate of Justin Verlander’s, as the Tigers acquired the infielder from the Braves on Tuesday night in exchange for Mike Aviles and a minor league catcher.

That’s notable because, five years ago when he was with the Angels, Erick Aybar disrupted Verlander’s attempt to complete his third career no-hitter by dropping down a bunt in the eighth inning. Verlander fielded the ball cleanly, but made a wild throw to first base, allowing Aybar to move to second base. The right-hander was charged with an error, but would allow an RBI single to Maicer Izturis later in the inning to break up the no-hitter. The Tigers would hold on to win 3-2 and Verlander got the win that afternoon.

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Verlander wasn’t happy about Aybar’s bunt, calling it “bush league,” as Chris Iott of reported at the time. In baseball’s “unwritten rules,” many feel that it’s disrespectful for a hitter to bunt for a hit when a pitcher is working on a no-hitter.

Verlander still remembers that bunt,’s Jason Beck reports. The veteran starter said, “I haven’t hit him like I said I would, so at least that’s a good thing when he gets to the clubhouse.”

ESPN’s Katie Strang quoted Verlander as calling Aybar’s bunt “water under the bridge.” He said, “Everything changes when a guy becomes your teammate.”

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