The Houston Chronicle reported on Sunday that Houston Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander would miss the remainder of the 2020 season due to an injury. Manager Dusty Baker would not confirm the reports, however, and opened the door for a potential return. He said that this injury was simply a forearm strain.
"We know it's a forearm strain, and he's being seen by the doctors," Baker told reporters. "He'll probably be shut down for a couple [of] weeks. We will see from there." Baker did not tell reporters if Verlander will pitch again this season. He reiterated that the star will miss a few weeks and that the team will evaluate him once again at a later date.
In addition to Baker, Verlander also pumped the brakes on saying that he is done for the season. He tweeted on Sunday and called the reports "not accurate. There is a forearm strain... I'm hopeful that with some rest it will heal and I'll be able to return soon. Thank you for all the well wishes," Verlander wrote.
The Cy Young Award winner originally said that he felt "tenderness" in his arm on Friday during a game against the Seattle Mariners. Verlander did not hint at being injured during his postgame interviews, per the Houston Chronicle. However, he had an MRI on Saturday.
"It happened [Friday] early in the game, but he said he felt fine," Baker said about the injury. "You see he was throwing the ball great ... so it was kind of a shock to all of us." during his six innings of action, Verlander allowed two runs and three hits. He struck out seven batters and walked another.
With this injury, Verlander will miss the first game of his Astros career, dating back to August 2017. The team has a game on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Baker will rely on another option. Cristian Javier will make the start against the West Coast team. The 23-year-old nearly saw action during Tuesday's game against the Dodgers, but the team left him in the bullpen. Now he will make his first career start to cap off the series.
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.