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Astros’ Verlander Likely Missing Opening Day

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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will most likely miss Opening Day. Astros general manager James Click announced on Monday that Verlander has a mild lat strain and has been shut down.

The injury occurred during Sunday’s game against the New York Mets. The initial diagnosis was triceps soreness in his right arm. Verlander had an MRI on Monday and was diagnosed with a strained lat muscle. It is unknown how long Verlander will be out but he’s expected to miss Opening Day.

“I would say it would probably take a miracle for me to be back by Opening Day,” Verlander said. “Talking with doctors and looking at the scans, it’s definitely not worst-case scenario. Best-case scenario would be nothing. It’s just probably somewhere in the middle of that.”

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This isn’t the first time that Verlander has had a lat injury, as he had a similar injury in 2015. The plan was for him to pitch four innings on Sunday but he was pulled after two inning and 29 pitches. His velocity on Sunday was down from his previous start.

Last year Verlander was 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA and 300 strikeouts. He led the majors in wins, opponent’s batting average (.172), WHIP (0.80), and innings pitched (223). Verlander also threw his third career no-hitter and reached 3,000 career strikeouts.

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Verlander being shut down will hurt the Astros rotation a little bit. Zack Greinke along with Verlander is at the top of the Astros rotation after the loss of Gerrit Cole. Lance McCullers Jr. and Jose Urquidy occupy the third and fourth spots in the rotation. Austin Pruitt, Josh James, and Framber Valdez are competing for the final spot in the rotation. Greinke and the others will have to step up while Verlander is out.

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