Justin Verlander 'Doing Great' Amid Groin Injury Rehab, Astros' Dusty Baker Says

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 16, 2020

FILE - In this March 3, 2020, file photo, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander warms up prior to the team's spring training baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla.  Verlander has resumed throwing as he recovers from March groin surgery. Houston manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday, April 15, that Verlander, who had surgery on March 17, is “doing great
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander has begun throwing and is "doing great" in his rehab following March 17 groin surgery, per manager Dusty Baker.

"He was having a little trouble on and off, and it kind of messes with your head in spring training when you feel great one day and the next day you don't and the next day you feel back," Baker said, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN).

"So this has actually probably been a blessing in disguise for him."

As the AP noted, the delay to the start of the MLB season because of the COVID-19 pandemic makes it more likely that Verlander will return prior to Opening Day.

There is no concrete timetable for when MLB may return. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that MLB may set up shop in Arizona and have all 30 teams play there for the 2020 season as early as May, but nothing has been set in stone yet.

As for Verlander, the AP (h/t ESPN) reported March 17 that Verlander would be out for six weeks after surgery on his right groin.

He initially felt discomfort in his groin early in spring training, forcing his first Grapefruit League start to be pushed back.

Verlander then started twice but left the second game early with a mild strain of a back muscle.

Astros general manager James Click noted that the initial plan was for Verlander to recover through physical therapy but that "the medical staff recommended that a surgical procedure was necessary" following a "setback in his rehab."

Verlander, 37, is a two-time American League Cy Young Award winner. He finished with an MLB-high 21 wins and struck out 300 batters last year.