Houston Astros: The important decision Justin Verlander will have to make

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 will have all eyes on him as we wonder if he will return the bump for the 2020 season. What’s the latest?

The Houston Astros are going to be getting things started soon and it will be later this month — either July 23 or 24 — where they will embark on their journey to try to get their second World Series trophy.

Amid a bombshell sign-stealing scandal that went public back earlier this year, the Houston Astros are the butt of many opposing teams — as well as fans — jokes notwithstanding that a lot of other teams — especially those they faced on the trek to their first World Series — don’t necessarily have their hands clean in terms of illegal techniques to steal signs.

But regardless, the Houston Astros will still have a target on their backs and they’ll have to focus to win the battle of the court of public opinion.  Not only that but the Houston Astros are dealing with a pandemic that none of us have seen in our lifetime — there’s likely few on Earth that even have witnessed the influenza pandemic back in the early 20th century — so baseball is taking serious measures to ensure that players remain safe.

No spitting, no loitering in the clubhouse after games, no showers and frequent testing for the coronavirus all while staying six feet apart is not going to be an easy task all while trying to defend their reputation.

But you know what?  This team is resilient enough to stand up to the challenge and I think they’re going to do just fine.

Moreover, all eyes will be on our ace, the great Justin Verlander, so see if he will be ready to go by the start of the season.

He’ll have a capable supporting cast of another ace in Zack Greinke, the return of the injured yet rejuvenated Lance McCullers Jr. with the rotation filled out by likely Brad Peacock, Jose Urquidy or Josh James.

Back in Spring Training, Verlander’s appearances were marked and he was shut down early because of issues with his groin.  I’m sure Verlander was just going to pitch through it with treatment and time away but this pandemic opened a great opportunity for him to get the surgery

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and have him recover.

He had the surgery March 17 and his recovery time was supposed to take eight weeks so with the timeline being well past that, it has been reported that he will likely be the Houston Astros Opening Day starter later this month.

He’s already started throwing the ball around and it will be interesting to see how the Houston Astros manage the collaboration between him and his pitching staff — plus Martin Maldonado and Dustin Garneau — with the team splitting the squad up training at Minute Maid Park and at Schroeder Park, the home of UH’s baseball team.

Verlander will have an important decision to make — he’s the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner — and I’ve never seen him back down from a challenge, especially to lead this pitching staff through this tumultuous time for baseball.

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I fully expect to see him on the bump later this month and we’ll be all proud of that but it will be interesting to see how baseball gets through one of the more challenging times in their history since the lockout back in 1994.

Let’s hope for the best and keep them pinned on Verlander being available to pitch!  Let’s go Houston Astros!