Justin Verlander Says There's 'No Set Number' of Seasons Left in Career

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2018

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 05:  Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians during Game One of the American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park on October 5, 2018 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

Houston Astros superstar pitcher Justin Verlander may be 35 years old, but he isn't contemplating retirement yet.

"Just keep swimming," he told reporters Thursday, per ESPN.com. "That's me. Just keep pitching. Just head down, prepare myself and just keep pitching. And at the end of my career, hopefully when I look up and all is said and done, that's cemented my legacy."

He continued:

"I think the goal is to be healthy and to be strong as long as I can. I think as long as I pay attention to my body and I take care of things that typically would creep in and start to cause issues as you get older, I think you can address those early on.

"And I think treating that stuff before it becomes an issue is what makes it not become an issue, as easy as that sounds. But there's no set number for me. I think I just want to pitch as long as I can."

Verlander hasn't shown many signs of slowing. After joining the Astros in August 2017, he went 5-0 in five regular-season starts, posting a 1.06 ERA and 0.65 WHIP. His hot streak extended into the postseason, when he went 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 38 strikeouts in 36.2 innings over six total appearances (five starts), playing a key role in Houston's World Series title.

He's once again been electric for the Astros, going 16-9 in the regular season with a 2.52 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 290 strikeouts in 214 innings. He's also won his only postseason appearance this October. 

Those are the sort of numbers most pitchers could only dream of compiling in their primes, let alone in the later years of their career. But Verlander talks as though he's firmly in his prime. 

"I've had a great learning experience the last five years or so," he said. "And I think that's going to be what prepares me for the second half of my career.

"I said second half, by the way."

That's good news for the Astros, who have him signed through the 2019 season. In Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and George Springer, among others, the Astros have an excellent core that should be competitive in the American League for years.   

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