Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander underwent surgery on his right groin Tuesday and is anticipated to miss at least six weeks.
“Initially, the hope was that physical therapy would be the proper course of action,” general manager James Click said in a statement. “However, after a recent setback in his rehab, the medical staff recommended that a surgical procedure was necessary. The early prognosis is that Justin will be out for about six weeks.”
Verlander’s initial timetable would put him out until the beginning of May.
Whether he misses any on-field action will be dependent on MLB’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
MLB indefinitely suspended its season last week, and there is no firm timetable for a return.
“I would say it would probably take a miracle for me to be back by Opening Day,” the 37-year-old Verlander told reporters afterward. “But I don’t want to take miracles off the table. … Talking with doctors and looking at the scans, it’s definitely not worst-case scenario. Best-case scenario would be nothing. It’s just probably somewhere in the middle of that.”
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The CDC suggested the cancellation or postponement of events with 50-plus attendees for the next eight weeks as health officials attempt to slow the spread of the virus.
Houston initially was scheduled to open its season March 26. Since, baseball has shut down, pushing the start of its season back until at least mid-May and remaining optimistic it can squeeze in a 162-game schedule.
Verlander, 37, is coming off his second Cy Young Award in 2019. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA and 0.80 WHIP, striking out a career-high 300 batters. He has made at least 30 starts in 13 of his 14 full MLB campaigns, a remarkable stretch of health that’s a rarity for a modern-day pitcher.
The baseball implications of his injury cannot be determined until play restarts. However, if Verlander misses time, Zack Greinke will take over as the Astros ace.
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