Add worrisome injury to the list of Astros spring training problems.
The team shut down ace Justin Verlander on Monday, a day after he left a spring training game with the Mets feeling right triceps soreness. The Astros diagnosed the injury as a mild lat strain, according to GM James Click.
“By and large, the news we got today was on the positive side,” Click said, according to the Houston Chronicle. Click was unable to provide a timeline for a return.
The Astros already had to replace No. 1 starter Gerrit Cole after he signed with the Yankees for $324 million this offseason. Now, the potential of not having Verlander to at least start the season seems a certainty.
“Lats can be pretty difficult…. It would probably take a miracle to be back before Opening Day. But I don’t want to take miracles off the table,” Verlander said.
Verlander missed the first two months of the 2015 season when he was with the Tigers with a triceps strain and said he “feels better” about this injury.
The Astros have become the villains of MLB this offseason with reports coming out that detailed their sign-stealing system from 2017 that helped them win a World Series. They have been booed by fans regularly and criticized by their peers on opposing teams. The normally talkative Verlander has mostly remained quiet on the controversy.
Verlander, 37, went 21-6 with a 2.56 ERA last season helping the Astros reach the World Series, where they lost to the Nationals.