The Houston Astros are likely going to be missing their top star in the rotation for the early part of the 2020 season.
Justin Verlander, who was pulled after two innings of work on Sunday in a 3-1 loss to the New York Mets, was announced to be shut down for the remainder of spring training with what is being called a mild lat strain.
“Talking with doctors and looking at the scans, it’s definitely not the worst-case scenario,” Verlander said to the media on Monday. “Best-case scenario would be nothing. It’s just probably somewhere in the middle of that.”
Beyond spring training for the reigning AL Cy Young Winner is an absolute mystery with about three weeks left until the regular season begins, saying that it would “probably take a miracle” for him to pitch in the Astros’ opener against the Los Angeles Angels on March 26th.
Verlander had a similar injury during spring training in 2015 and did not make his season debut until June 13. He finished 5-8 with a 3.38 ERA in 133⅓ innings for Detroit.
That leaves Zack Greinke as the only one of last season’s top three starters to open the season on the active roster.
“You’re ultimately trying to cover 1,400 innings as best as you possibly can,” Houston general manager James Click said on Monday. “The five guys that you say are your starters on Opening Day, I don’t know the last time a team went through the season with only five of them. We know we’re going to have to be six, seven, eight guys deep.”