Houston Astros: Determining Justin Verlander’s return to the lineup

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander has been shut down for the time being so it’s time determine when he’d be able to return to the lineup. Let’s look.

The Houston Astros continue to trudge through their Spring Training schedule in up-and-down fashion with them fine-tuning themselves for the upcoming season.  Although the positional battles are likely set, there’s still room in the starting rotation — as well as the bullpen — for some competition.

The final two spots of the starting rotation are up for grabs and it remains to been seen who is going to grab those slots.  Josh James, Framber Valdez, possibly Brad Peacock are all candidates to fill out the rotation but it certainly is up to Dusty Baker on who cracks the Top 5.

At least we know that the Top 3 starters will be Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Lance McCullers Jr., of which the latter has something to prove since being out all of 2019 recovering from Tommy John‘s surgery.

McCullers has had his battles with his pitching repertoire but he’s made some solid returns in his Spring Training appearances so far.

But with the latest news in regard to Verlander’s injury, the Houston Astros could be without their top ace on the bump come Opening Day, which is approximately two weeks from now.

He even mentions that it would take a miracle for him to be ready by the time that date rolls

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Verlander was pulled early from his start this past Sunday against the New York Mets in what appeared to be an injury to his groin.  He was supposed to appear for four innings but only made it through two, grabbing one punch-out, allowing three hits and no earned runs.

But as things have materialized, MLB.com’s Alyson Footer is confirming that Verlander has a suffered a mild lat strain, something he dealt with back in the 2015 season when he was still with the Detroit Tigers.  He missed the first two months of the season in that stint but the 37-year-old veteran doesn’t think it will be as bad as that injury.

If that’s the case, I’d say that Verlander will miss at least a month nursing this injury but it could possibly be longer.  The team hasn’t designated a timetable in terms of when he’ll start throwing again but let’s hope it’s soon.

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First and foremost, his health is important and they shouldn’t rush him to return as it’s a marathon of a season, not a sprint.

I wish nothing but the best for J.V. as he recovers…

Go Astros.