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Justin Verlander Shut Down by Astros Amid Report of Season-Ending Forearm Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2020

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 08: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros in action against the New York Mets during a spring training baseball game at Clover Park on March 8, 2020 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Mets defeated the Astros 3-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Houston Astros' rotation just took a major hit, as star Justin Verlander will be shut down for a "couple of weeks" because of a forearm injury.

"It's a forearm strain. He's shut down for a couple of weeks and we'll re-evaluate at that time," Astros manager Dusty Baker said after Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Seattle Mariners. "That's all I can tell you."

Baker added that Verlander underwent an MRI on Saturday.

Though Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle previously reported Verlander would miss the remainder of the season, Baker did not rule out a return this season.

Verlander later took to social media to deny the report that he would miss the rest of the season:

Justin Verlander @JustinVerlander

The report that I’m currently missing the rest of the season is not accurate. 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. 🙏🏻

The loss leaves Houston without its best starter, at least for the time being.

Verlander started the season opener Friday, striking out seven over six innings in an 8-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner underwent right groin surgery in March, but he recovered from that ailment in the weeks that followed.

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Verlander finished fifth among pitchers in WAR (6.4) in 2019, per FanGraphs. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA and 3.27 FIP while averaging 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

Gerrit Cole signed with the New York Yankees in the offseason, and the Astros chose to replace him internally rather than pursue another ace through free agency or a trade. As a result, Houston's starting rotation is something of a wild card, though calling the unit a trouble area would be a stretch.

Jose Urquidy is unproven over a full season in the majors, and Lance McCullers Jr. missed the entirety of 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Zack Greinke is now the undisputed ace of the staff. The 36-year-old had a 3.02 ERA in 62.2 innings with the Astros last season, but he got off to a poor start to 2020 on Sunday, allowing three runs in 3.1 innings.

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