Astros’ Verlander out at least two weeks with forearm strain

Sports

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws against the Seattle Mariners during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, July 24, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON (AP) — Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander has a strained right forearm and will be shut down for at least two weeks.

Astros manager Dusty Baker announced the injury after Houston’s 7-6 loss to the Mariners on Sunday, saying Verlander would be evaluated after two weeks.

Verlander denied a report that the injury would end his season in a tweet Sunday night.

“The report that I’m currently missing the rest of the season is not accurate,” he tweeted. “There is a forearm strain … I’m hopeful that with some rest it will heal and I’ll be able to return soon. Thank you for all the well wishes.”

Baker also denied the report.

The 37-year-old Verlander had groin surgery in March but recovered in time to pitch for the Astros on opening day Friday with the season delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Baker said Verlander felt “tenderness” in his arm during his start on Friday, where he pitched six innings and got the win. He had an MRI on Saturday, and now he’ll miss at least roughly a third of this 60-game regular season.

“It happened (Friday) early in the game but he said he felt fine,” Baker said. “You see he was throwing the ball great … so it was kind of a shock to all of us.”

Baker said he didn’t know who would start in place of Verlander on Wednesday against the Dodgers.

“We’re looking into that,” he said. “We know we’re a little short especially on veteran arms. We’re still trying to decide who can help us.”

When he doesn’t start on Wednesday, it will be the first time Verlander has missed a start for the Astros since he was acquired from Detroit in August 2017. Verlander was 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA last season and led the majors in wins and innings (223).

Verlander, who is in his 16th season in the major leagues, won his first Cy Young Award in 2011 when he was also was voted AL MVP. He is 226-129 with a 3.33 ERA and 3,013 strikeouts in his career.

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