Houston Astros Ace Could Hit Injured List if He Misses Thursday's Start

There's a chance the Houston Astros will have to put their ace on the injured list again if he isn't able to pitch in his scheduled start on Thursday.
Jun 3, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) walks off the mound after pitching during the third inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Minute Maid Park
Jun 3, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) walks off the mound after pitching during the third inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Minute Maid Park / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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The last thing the Houston Astros need is more bad news, but there's a chance that could be coming soon.

Their ace Justin Verlander was scratched from his start this past Saturday with "neck discomfort," not something overly concerning during the long season, but certainly something that will make the team and fans take notice considering all the injuries they've dealt with so far.

With the extra time off, it was expected the veteran would return to the mound on Thursday for a start against the Chicago White Sox.

However, nothing has been officially announced yet and manager Joe Espada had some concerning words when saying Verlander's progress "is slower than we expected" according to Chandler Rome of The Athletic.

That's never something good to hear.

With the ace being 41 years old, there was always cause for concern entering this season about how his body might hold up, something that was an issue immediately when he was placed on the injured list during Spring Training.

While nothing is determined yet, there's a chance that if Verlander does miss the start on Thursday, then the Astros will likely put him back on the injured list.

"Joe basically said they're going to have to IL him if he can't pitch Thursday," Rome added when giving more context about this situation.

That would certainly complicate things for Houston this season.

The Astros would be down yet another starter, putting their number of starting pitchers on the injured list up to five with Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy already out for the year, and Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. still working their way back to the field.

Losing Verlander would be a huge blow to Houston's hopes they can bounce back and put together a strong run during the summer to get back into the playoffs.

This might potentially force them to become sellers, no matter how much general manager Dana Brown tries to fight that.

Again, nothing is official, but any announcement that comes regarding the ace's availability on Thursday will have massive ramifications.


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Brad Wakai

BRAD WAKAI

Brad Wakai graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Journalism. While an undergrad, he did work at the student radio station covering different Penn State athletic programs like football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and other sports. Brad currently covers the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros for Sports Illustrated/FanNation. He is also the Lead Contributor for Nittany Lions Wire of Gannett Media where he continues to cover Penn State athletics. Brad is the host of the sports podcast I Said What I Said, discussing topics across the NFL, College Football, the NBA and other sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @bwakai