According to the Astros' General Manager James Click, pitcher Justin Verlander was pulled from Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Mets with what was initially diagnosed as triceps soreness in his right arm. The injury now calls into question Verlander's ability to make an opening day start.
MLB.com reporter Alyson Footer shared the news on social early today, and the team now knows that Verlander has a mild lat strain.
In his second start in the Grapefruit League during Spring Training, Verlander made it through just 29 pitches in the loss to the Mets on Sunday before being pulled.
MLB.com's Brian McTaggart wrote about Verlander's impressive velocity in his first start of the spring, where Justin was hitting speeds up to 97 mph and went 2 2/3 innings on 53 pitches. On Sunday, Verlander was topping out a lower average of 91-94 mph.
No doubt the beleaguered Astros hope the lat strain is only mild, and that Verlander will be able to get started quickly, if not on opening day. Verlander, impressive throughout his career, had a fantastic 2019 season, winning the AL Cy Young award, and hitting some nice milestones for his career.
Verlander won 21 games, which led the majors, had a low 2.58 ERA, and opposing hitters averaged just .172 against the two-time Cy Young winner. Verlander also struck out a career-high 300 batters and reached 3,000 K's. Those 3000 strikeouts put Verlander in the Top 20 among those to accomplish such a feat, alongside names like Bob Gibson, Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, and more.
It would not be a fun start to the season in Houston if Justin Verlander misses significant time. The club, so far, is looking to Verlander, Zack Greinke, and Lance McCullers Jr. as their top three in the starting rotation. Their fourth man is Jose Urquidy, who, according to Baseball Reference, hasn't exactly excelled this Spring, while McCullers is a bit of an unknown having gone through TJ surgery missing the entire 2019 season. Vying for that fifth spot are Austin Pruitt, Josh James, and Framber Valdez.
Stay tuned for updates on Justin Verlander and his status for both Opening Day and the season.