The 37 year old Verlander was pulled early from his second spring training start yesterday after two innings, complaining of triceps soreness. Verlander missed two months with a triceps strain while he was with the Detroit Tigers in 2015, and this soreness prompted the club to send him for an MRI.
Verlander being shut down has the Astros saying he is uncertain for Opening Day, though with Opening Day for Houston being just seventeen days away, it seems unlikely that Verlander, once he gets the okay to start throwing again, to be ready to be in the rotation by then.
The Astros’ rotation after Verlander is neither particularly strong nor particularly deep — 36 year old Zack Greinke is the team’s #2 starter, with post-TJS Lance McCullers, Jr., and Jose Urquidy penciled in behind them. There’s a mix of other guys who are competing for the #5 spot in the rotation currently, and if Verlander is on the shelf to start the year, Houston will have to utilize two of them rather than just one.