The Houston Astros' bid to return to the World Series appears to have gotten a lot tougher.
Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander will miss a significant amount of time this season due to a right forearm strain, manager Dusty Baker said Sunday.
Baker's announcement comes shortly after the Houston Chronicle's Chandler Rome reported that Verlander will miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury.
Following Houston's 7-6 loss to the Mariners on Sunday, Baker said Verlander would be shut down for a couple of weeks before being re-evaluated, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, though in an truncated season, a few weeks plus whatever time it takes for him get back in pitching shape could span the remainder of the year.
Verlander later refuted the report that he'd miss the rest of the season, reiterating Baker's characterization of the injury as a forearm strain.
Verlander pitched six innings in a win against the Seattle Mariners on Friday, allowing two runs on three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts on 73 pitches. There was no mention of a possible injury in postgame interviews, and Verlander's exact injury is unknown.
In March, Verlander had groin surgery that would have forced him to miss the beginning of the season had it started on time. He hurt his groin while rehabbing from a spring-training lat injury.
Verlander, 37, won his second career Cy Young Award in 2019, going 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA and 300 strikeouts in 223 innings. He's 43-15 with a 2.45 ERA in 74 career starts with the Astros.