The Houston Astros announced on Tuesday that right-handed pitcher Justin Verlander underwent a surgical procedure on his right groin.
Verlander’s first start in Spring Training was delayed until March 3 due to groin discomfort in his right groin. He did proceed to make two starts, however, as he struck out four batters in nearly five innings of work while posting a 3.86 ERA.
In a statement, Astros general manager James Click said, “Initially, the hope was that physical therapy would be the proper course of action. 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.”
The six-week timetable is not too alarming for Astros fans because it seems unlikely we will have baseball at the end of April. Recent CDC remarks are urging all gatherings of 50 or more people in the next eight weeks to be canceled and Major League Baseball is expected to comply, pushing their new projected start date back to mid May.
This is the first time Verlander has suffered a significant injury as an Astro as he has not missed a start for them since the 2017 trade that sent him from Detroit to Houston. He dazzled his way to his second career AL Cy Young Award in a 2019 season that also saw him hurl his third career no-hitter.
In 34 starts in 2019, Verlander was 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA while leading all of baseball in wins, opponent batting average (.172), WHIP (0.80) and innings pitched (223.0). His 6.3 fWAR was the sixth-best in baseball in 2019 as he teamed up with Zack Greinke and Gerrit Cole to bring the Astros to the World Series, which they ultimately lost to the Nationals.
Assuming Verlander does not suffer any setbacks, he should be able to make a full recovery before Opening Day ... whenever that may be.