Home » Astros’ Justin Verlander to start 2024 season on injured list: ‘It’s just a timing issue’

Astros’ Justin Verlander to start 2024 season on injured list: ‘It’s just a timing issue’

by Marko Florentino
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Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander will start the season on the injured list as he continues to deal with shoulder inflammation, but it’s not all bad news for the three-time Cy Young Award winner. 

Astros manager Joe Espada confirmed the news on Tuesday, adding that while Verlander looks solid, there’s not enough time to get him back to full strength before the start of the season.

Justin Verlander pitches

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023, in Houston.  (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

“He’s doing very well, but we’re just running out of days here, and we won’t be able to build him up enough to start the season,” he said. “It’s just a timing issue. We want to do what’s best for J.V. and our club, and this is what’s best for us right now.”

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Espada added that Verlander hasn’t experienced any soreness in his right shoulder after bullpen sessions — suggesting possibly an early return. 

But Verlander wouldn’t speculate. 

“I don’t have any of the answers, and the frustrating part about this is nobody has the answer,” he said, via MLB.com. 

Justin Verlander warms up

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander (35) warms up as he prepared to throw off the 10-pack during workouts for Houston Astros pitchers and catchers at CACTI Park of the Palm Beaches on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in West Palm Beach, Florida.  (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images)

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“It’s, ‘OK, when am I healed, when am I full go?’ I’m hovering at 90% right now. I feel like I’m ready to bump it up. Does going from 90% to 100% take a little longer, or is it like, ‘All right, I’m good’? I don’t know. I’ve got to continue to build up, and I think we’ll know when the time is ready. Maybe there’s a potential for a follow-up MRI to see how things look, making sure it is still good, which it was before.”

Verlander signed an $86.67 million, two-year deal with the New York Mets ahead of the 2023 season, but was traded back to Houston in early August. 

Justin Verlander throws pitch

New York Mets’ Justin Verlander pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Tuesday, July 25, 2023, in New York.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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His deal includes a $35 million conditional player option for 2025 that he can exercise if he has 140 more innings pitched this year. If he exercises it, the Mets would have to pay half. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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