HOUSTON -- Astros ace Justin Verlander, who suffered a right forearm strain in his first start of the season and was shut down, hopes to resume throwing a baseball next week in an effort to return this season, a source told MLB.com on Wednesday.
Verlander threw six strong innings July 24 against the Mariners to begin the season. He was subsequently shut down for two weeks, but he has been making excellent progress. On July 26, Verlander rebuffed a report that said he was going to be out for the year by tweeting he was going to try to return after a period of rest.
The Astros’ pitching staff has been rocked by injuries to the rotation and especially the bullpen, which features nine rookies. After losing Gerrit Cole in free agency, the Astros have had to get by without Verlander, putting further strain on the undermanned staff. Verlander and Cole finished 1-2 in the American League Cy Young voting last year.
At age 36 in 2019, Verlander had one of the best seasons of his career, perhaps trailing the '11 season in which he won his first Cy Young Award and also the AL Most Valuable Player Award. In 34 starts in 2019, he went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA, 300 strikeouts and a 0.80 WHIP in 223 innings. His WHIP was the second-lowest in the past 100 years.