Justin Verlander, the Houston Astros veteran ace, will miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury, per a report from the Houston Chronicle. While the Chronicle doesn’t mention any specifics of the injury, if it is a damaged UCL that would require Tommy John surgery, Verlander would likely miss all of 2021, as well.
Losing the 37 year old Verlander is a big blow for the Astros, who were already somewhat thin in the rotation after the departure of Gerrit Cole in free agency. The Astros rotation behind Verlander consists of Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers, Jr., Josh James and Framber Valdez. Jose Urquidy is on the COVID-19 injured list currently, and the Astros’ top pitching prospect, Forrest Whitley, struggled last season, and didn’t make the 30 man roster out of camp.
Verlander signed a 2 year, $66 million extension with the Astros last year. If Verlander does end up needing Tommy John surgery, his Opening Day start this season could be the only game the Astros get out of him before he hits the free agent market after 2021.
UPDATE — Dusty Baker says that Verlander has a strained forearm and is being shut down for a couple of weeks. A strained forearm is often the initial return when there is a UCL tear, so this is going to be something to monitor.