Justin Verlander, the Houston Astros ace and future Hall of Famer, will miss the rest of the 2020 season, according to a report from Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle.
Verlander, 37 and the reigning AL Cy Young winner, reportedly has an elbow injury. The Astros have yet to announce the news, but per The Chronicle’s report:
The Astros will announce that reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander is out for the season with an elbow injury, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Chronicle on Sunday.
The injury deals a near fatal blow to the Astros’ hopes for World Series contention in this 60-game season. Verlander is the team’s unquestioned ace, the rock around which their starting rotation is formed. He struck out 300 batters last season and posted the third-lowest WHIP in modern major league history.
Verlander started on opening day for the Astros and pitched six innings, allowing two runs and three hits and striking out seven. With Gerrit Cole going to the Yankees in free agency, the Astros needed Verlander more than ever if they hoped to go on another World Series run.
Without him, they’ll need even more out of Lance McCullers Jr., who is coming off Tommy John surgery and Josh James, who went to the rotation this year from the bullpen and was picked by many as a breakout player. Zack Greinke, who started Sunday and allowed three runs in 3.1 innings, takes over as the staff’s veteran arm.
Verlander, meanwhile, is experiencing something new. He’s been incredibly durable throughout his career. In his 16-year MLB career, he’s fell short of 30 starts once — in 2015. Besides his rookie season, that’s also the only season Verlander didn’t reach the 200-inning threshold.
The question now is whether he needs Tommy John surgery, which is often the case when pitchers have elbow problems. Verlander is perhaps MLB’s biggest star arm who hasn’t needed Tommy John. If he were to need it, the shortened 2020 season and the 12-to-18-month recovery time could mean Verlander doesn’t pitch again until 2022, when he’ll be 39.
He’s signed through 2021 with the Astros, making $33 million this season and next.