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JV 'not progressing as quickly as he'd like'

@brianmctaggart
August 8, 2020

Astros ace pitcher Justin Verlander, who suffered a right forearm strain in his first start of the season, is “not progressing as quickly as he’d like,” manager Dusty Baker said prior to Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the A’s in Oakland. Verlander threw six strong innings on July 24 against the

Astros ace pitcher Justin Verlander, who suffered a right forearm strain in his first start of the season, is “not progressing as quickly as he’d like,” manager Dusty Baker said prior to Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the A’s in Oakland.

Verlander threw six strong innings on July 24 against the Mariners to begin the season, and he was originally supposed to be shut down for two weeks. On July 26, Verlander rebuffed a newspaper 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.

It’s not known if Verlander has started throwing yet.

The Astros’ pitching staff has been rocked by injuries this year -- especially the bullpen, which features nine rookies. After losing Gerrit Cole in free agency, Houston has been without Verlander for the past two weeks, putting further strain on the undermanned staff. Verlander and Cole finished first and second in American League Cy Young Award 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 AL Cy Young Award, as well as 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.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.