Astros' Justin Verlander Makes Major Strides in Tommy John Surgery Recovery

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander suffered an elbow injury in late July and then underwent surgery in September. This procedure shut him down for the remainder of the 2020 season, but he just hit a significant milestone. Verlander just threw his first post-surgery pitch.

The Astros star posted a video on Twitter Wednesday that showed the important step in his recovery. Verlander threw a pitch to another person at a slower speed than normal and then celebrated by raising his arms. This toss is a far cry from the heaters he throws during MLB games, but the video still turned heads. Fans expressed joy about Verlander's progress.

"Huge milestone in your recovery, JV. As an Astros fan we would love to see you return down the stretch and during the playoffs, but first and foremost we want you to be healthy and be able to extend your career as long as possible(hopefully in a Houston uni til [sic] you retire," one fan commented on Twitter. Several others chimed in and echoed this sentiment.

Verlander first suffered the injury during a July game against the Seattle Mariners. He originally said that he felt "tenderness" in his arm, but he did not hint at being injured during his postgame interviews, per the Houston Chronicle. However, Verlander had an MRI the following day. Little more than one month later, he opted for the medical procedure.

When Verlander first revealed that he was undergoing Tommy John surgery, he posted a video and explained the process. He said that he took part in a simulated game to test his recovery. However, he felt something off in his elbow. He then met with some well-respected doctors and examined the MRI. Together, they determined that Tommy John surgery was the best option for him.

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"I'm going to handle this the only way I know how," Verlander said. "I'm going to be optimistic, and I'm going to put my head down and work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully come out on the other side better for it." Verlander then explained that he hoped this surgery would help him extend his career as he tries to accomplish multiple goals.

A two-time Cy Young Award winner, Verlander signed a two-year, $66 million contract extension with the Astros in March 2019. This boosted his annual salary to $33 million and kept him on the roster. He will be a free agent after the 2021 season, prior to turning 39.