Astros ace Justin Verlander undergoes groin surgery, will be sidelined six weeks

The Astros on Tuesday announced that ace right-hander Justin Verlander has undergone successful surgery on his right groin and will be sidelined for approximately six weeks. Verlander initially suffered a groin discomfort early in spring training, which caused his first start to be pushed back. 

Since Opening Day of the 2020 season is pushed back until at least May because of the novel coronavirus, which has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, Verlander should still have time to be ready for the start of the season. Earlier in spring, he also dealt with a lat issue

“Initially, the hope was that physical therapy would be the proper course of action,” general manager James Click said in a statement released by the team. “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.”

Verlander, 37, is coming off a 2019 season in which he pitched to a 2.58 ERA/179 ERA+ with 300 strikeouts in an MLB-leading 223 innings. He edged out then teammate Gerrit Cole to win the AL Cy Young award for the second time his career. 

Signed through 2021, Verlander this season will be relied upon to front a rotation that also includes 36-year-old Zack Greinke and has some depth concerns following Cole’s decision to sign with the Yankees. Given Verlander’s age and recent health history, he’s becoming less of a known quantity than you might think given his level of dominance last season. 

While the shutdown of MLB due to the coronavirus has dominated the news cycle, the fallout from the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal remains a subplot going into the 2020 season, whenever it begins. 

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