Astros ace Justin Verlander has groin surgery during MLB shutdown
Veteran righ-hander eyeing 4-6 week recovery while also nursing lat strain
Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander is expected to need four to six weeks to recover from surgery on his right groin.
The Astros announced Tuesday that Verlander underwent the procedure, but his idle time will be spent while Major League Baseball is on hiatus because of the coronavirus outbreak. MLB is not expected to resume until sometime in May at the earliest.
Verlander, 37, delayed his first start in spring training until March 3 due to discomfort in his right groin. He started two games before spring training was shut down, posting a 3.86 earned-run average in 4 2/3 innings of work with four strikeouts.
"Initially, the hope was that physical therapy would be the proper course of action," Astros general manager James Click said. "However, after a recent setback in his rehab, the medical staff recommended that a surgical procedure was necessary. The early prognosis is that Justin will be out for about six weeks."
On March 9, Verlander was diagnosed with a mild lat [back muscle] strain after exiting a spring training start the previous day with "triceps soreness." An MRI revealed an issue with his lat.
Model of durability
Verlander suffered a lat strain in 2015 while with the Detroit Tigers, but said the injury didn't appear as serious this time.
Verlander has been a model of durability in his major league career, having thrown at least 200 innings in 12 of the last 13 seasons, including each of the last four. Additionally, he has made no fewer than 30 starts in 13 of his 14 full big-league campaigns.
Verlander still could be in line to start the first game of the 2020 regular season, depending on his recovery and the timetable baseball follows to return to play.
Houston lost Gerrit Cole to the New York Yankees in free agency. Zack Greinke and Lance McCullers Jr. would be candidates to take the ball opening day — whenever it might be — if Verlander is unable to fill the No. 1 role.
Verlander was 21-6 in 2019 with a 2.58 ERA. He won the American League Cy Young Award.
With files from CBC Sports