HomeTrending MLB NewsAstros ace to start season on injured list

Astros ace to start season on injured list

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Houston Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart reported Tuesday that ace Justin Verlander will join fellow starting pitchers Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia on the injured list to start the 2024 regular season. 

Verlander was the presumptive Opening Day starter for the Astros, but after suffering “a little hiccup,” in his preseason routine, manager Joe Espada said there isn’t enough time to get him prepared for the first game of the season on March 28.

“He needs to see live batting practices, he needs to reach certain miles per hour on his sides and live BPs,” Houston’s first-year manger said. “We want to make sure we do it smart and not fast. We need him for the long haul. It’s a long season and we need a healthy J.V. throughout the season. The plan is to build him up here in the next couple of weeks and he shouldn’t miss much time.”

Despite Espada’s optimistic assurances, Astros fans should be uneasy. 

Verlander, 41, has 509 starts over his 19-year career, pitching over 200 innings in 12 of those seasons. But he hasn’t pitched a full season since 2019, and this is his third consecutive season that he has been hurt. 

He began the 2022 season on the injured list as he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery. Last season, he  dealt with back and shoulder issues. 

He still started at least 27 games in both campaigns and posted the lowest ERA of all MLB starting pitchers in 2022 (1.75). That number jumped to 3.22 in 2023, which was still good for ninth in MLB, but could indicate a troubling trend for the three-time Cy Young winner. 

Until he shows otherwise, Verlander will rightly be considered a premier pitcher as long as he’s healthy. But Houston fans should rightly start to worry about how often that will be. 

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