Justin Verlander headed to injured list due to forearm strain

Justin Verlander forearm injury
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7:05 PM EDT: Verlander responds to the initial report:

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6:06 PM EDT: Justin Verlander is dealing with a forearm strain, Astros manager Dusty Baker said, per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Verlander will be reevaluated in a couple of weeks. While Baker did not say Verlander is “out for the season” as the initial report suggested, it is a significant setback all the same.

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Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports that Astros ace Justin Verlander will miss the remainder of the 2020 season due to an elbow injury. At the moment, no other details about the injury are known.

Verlander, 37, started on Opening Day against the Mariners on Friday, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts over six innings. He is the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, going 21-6 last season with a 2.58 ERA, 300 strikeouts, and 42 walks over 223 innings.

Injuries happen, but one also wonders if the relatively short three-week ramp-up time afforded to players affected Verlander’s propensity to get injured. Verlander also recently said that he changed his mechanics in order to prolong his career. Perhaps the mechanical change had the opposite of the intended effect.

Verlander inked a two-year, $66 million extension with the Astros in March 2019. He’s under contract next season and then can become a free agent.

Needless to say, this is a huge blow to the Astros, who lost Gerrit Cole to free agency and will now go the rest of 2020 without Verlander. Zack Greinke becomes the de facto ace of a depleted starting rotation that also includes Lance McCullers Jr., Josh James, and Framber Valdez. Jose Urquidy recently reported to the Astros’ alternate training site in Corpus Christi and could take Verlander’s spot.