Verlander said on Monday the baseball's used in 2019 are "a f---ing joke."
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred refuted Justin Verlander's accusation of juiced baseballs on Tuesday by telling the media, "baseball has done nothing or given no direction for an alteration in the baseball."
Verlander lambasted the MLB on Monday for its sharp increase in home runs in 2019. The Astros starting pitcher called the current baseballs, "a f---ing joke," claiming Manfred worked with Rawlings to increase offensive production.
"Major League Baseball's turning this game into a joke," Verlander told ESPN's Jeff Passan. "I find it really hard to believe that Major League Baseball owns Rawlings and just coincidentally the balls become juiced."
Manfred didn't directly respond to Verlander's comments on Tuesday, but he did double down on his stance that the MLB didn't alter the baseballs.
"I'm not going to respond specifically. I'm going to stand by what I said. What we need to be on the baseball issue is transparent and forward-looking," Manfred said. "There has been no intentional alteration in the manufacturing process."
Home run rates have skyrocketed in the MLB in 2019. Players are on pace for 6,668 home runs this season, a sharp increase from the previous record of 6,105 homers in 2017.
Houston's ace has allowed a league-high 26 home runs in 2019, but the increased dingers haven't hurt his effectiveness. Verlander is 10–4 with a 2.98 ERA and has struck out 153 batters in 126 2/3 innings.
The 2011 AL MVP will start the All-Star Game on Tuesday and square off against Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers.