Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Astros’ Justin Verlander dealing ‘neck discomfort,’ scratched from scheduled start against Tigers

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Veteran Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander has been scratched from his scheduled Saturday start against the Tigers with what the club characterized as “neck discomfort.” Rookie right-hander Spencer Arrighetti, who had been scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale, will make the Saturday start instead. 

“He’s been actually dealing with this for like the last two weeks,” Astros manager Joe Espada told reporters on Saturday. “Trying to pitch through it and we just felt like it would be smart to take a break here, skip his start and try to get to the bottom of it.”

Verlander, in his age-41 season, has pitched to a 3.95 ERA (97 ERA+) with a K/BB ratio of 3.00 in 10 starts. In his last two starts combined, he’s allowed a total of eight runs in 10 innings — subpar numbers that may, in part, be explained by the neck discomfort. As for the 24-year-old Arrighetti, he has a 5.33 ERA this season in 52 ⅓ innings spread across 11 starts. 

Rotation depth is a serious concern for the Astros right now, as starters Lance McCullers Jr., Luis Garcia, Cristian Javier, and José Urquidy are all on the injured list. 

The Astros enter Saturday’s game against the Tigers with a record of 32-38 and in third place in the American League West. They trail first-place Seattle by eight games.

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