Justin Verlander Has 'Every Intention' to Pitch in 2021, Astros GM James Click Says

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Astros ace Justin Verlander hopes to pitch during the 2021 season despite undergoing Tommy John surgery two months ago, general manager James Click said.

"As you would expect with [Verlander], he's getting after his rehab like a Hall of Famer," Click said during an interview with MLB Network on Wednesday. "He has every intention of trying to come back next year. I think that would be an aggressive timetable, but we're not taking anything off the table when it comes to a guy like that."

Verlander underwent Tommy John surgery on Sept. 30. The team estimated his recovery would take 12-14 months. Although that timetable predicts he will miss the entire 2021 season, it sounds like Verlander isn't letting it slow him down.

The 37-year-old ace only made one start in 2020. He pitched six innings against the Mariners on Opening Day on July 24. Houston then placed him on the injured list with a right forearm strain, but his arm injury worsened in a 75-pitch simulated game this fall. 

With the postseason less than two weeks away, Verlander announced on Sept. 19 that he would undergo Tommy John surgery.

"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 wrote on Instagram when he made the announcement.

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 the 2021 season.