With the postseason less than two weeks away, the Astros just received some tough news.
Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander announced on Saturday that he will have Tommy John surgery after his arm injury worsened in his recent 75-pitch simulated game.
"I was hopeful that I would be able to return to competition in 2020, however, during my simulated game unfortunately the injury worsened," Verlander wrote on Instagram. "Obviously I'm extremely disappointed, but I will not let this slow down my aspirations for my career. I will approach this rehab the only way I know, attack and don't look back. I'm confident that with a proper rehabilitation program and my unwavering commitment that this surgery will ultimately lengthen my career as opposed to shorten it."
Verlander's season was initially delayed by a right forearm strain, and he hoped to return to the Astros in October. In late July, manager Dusty Baker said Verlander would be shut down for a couple of weeks before being re-evaluated. Reports quickly surfaced that the 37-year-old would miss the rest of the season, which he refuted online.
During the shortened 2020 regular season, Verlander pitched six innings in his only start, allowing two runs on three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts on 73 pitches in a win over the Mariners.
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 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. He is set to become a free agent at the end of next season.
Houston (25–26) sits second in the American League West and is projected to be the No. 6 seed in MLB's new expanded postseason format.