Justin Verlander denies season-ending injury, hopes to return soon

By Matt Johnson
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Houston experienced a scare on Sunday when reports indicated starting pitcher Justin Verlander suffered a season-ending elbow injury. Verlander squashed those rumors after Sunday’s loss, but the reigning Cy Young Award winner will still be missing time with a forearm strain.

Justin Verlander suffers forearm strain, hopeful to return soon

Verlander, who took the mound for the Houston Astros on Opening Day, told the team that he experienced tenderness in his arm during Friday’s start. Despite the discomfort, the 37-year-old remainder on the mound.

Houston came out of the game with a win after pitching six innings with seven strikeouts and just four baserunners allowed. After throwing 73 pitches on Friday, though, the discomfort in his arm didn’t go away.

Verlander underwent an MRI over the weekend and was evaluated by Houston’s medical staff. He’s expected to be placed on the 10-day injured list early next week and will undergo further evaluation in a few weeks.

Losing Verlander for any significant length of time would be a devastating blow for the Astros. Zack Greinke couldn’t make it through four innings during Sunday’s loss and Lance McCullers Jr. is in his first year back from Tommy John Surgery. Meanwhile, pitcher José Urquidy just resumed baseball activities after missing spring training 2.0 with an undisclosed issued.

Notably, McCullers suffered a forearm strain in August 2018. After being sidelined for over a month, he returned briefly then underwent TJS. Verlander will be hoping desperately to avoid the same fate, both for Houston’s sake and for his chances of pitching for years to come.