MLB

Astros’ Justin Verlander will not pitch in 2021 following Tommy John surgery, GM says

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The Houston Astros will welcome star third baseman Alex Bregman back from the injured list Wednesday. He’s been out since June 16 with a left quad strain, and a setback earlier this month slowed his progress. Bregman is now healthy and ready to go.

One injured player who won’t rejoin the Astros this season: Justin Verlander. Verlander had Tommy John surgery last October, and although his rehab work is reportedly going well, Astros GM James Click confirmed Wednesday that Verlander will not pitch this year. 

Click said so during an interview with SportsTalk 790 in Houston.

These days the typical Tommy John surgery rehab timetable is 14-16 months, so Verlander returning this year, even as a reliever in September (and during the postseason), would have been very aggressive. Earlier this year Noah Syndergaard of the Mets and Luis Severino of the Yankees suffered setbacks during their rehab from Tommy John surgery. Doing too much, too soon can lead to even more problems.

Verlander, 38, started Opening Day last July 24 and has not pitched since. He is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason, and although he is coming off a major arm injury, Verlander figures to appeal to contenders given his pedigree and the fact he is likely to sign a short-term contract at his age and coming off surgery. An extension with the Astros shouldn’t be ruled out.

Back in May, Verlander told reporters, including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, that he wanted to pitch this season, but cautioned he still had a lot of rehab work ahead of him. “Do I want to pitch? Absolutely. There’s a lot of room to go. There’s a lot of things that need to go perfectly from now until then for that even to be a discussion,” he said at the time.

The Astros come into Wednesday leading the AL West with a 74-52 record. Their rotation has been solid overall without Verlander. Stalwarts Zack Greinke and Lance McCullers Jr. have led the staff while Luis Garcia has been a pleasant surprise, pitching well enough to receive serious Rookie of the Year consideration.



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