HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros warms up prior to Game Six of the American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2023 in Houston, Texas.
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Justin Verlander Provides Concerning Injury Update

The Houston Astros didn't start their 2024 season off on a great note, thanks to a concerning injury update from Justin Verlander. 

On the same day that Astros pitchers and catchers reported to their spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, the team's best pitcher reported a concerning arm injury. 

According to an X post from MLB.com's Astros beat reporter Brian McTaggart, Justin Verlander is already couple weeks behind on his throwing schedule, and doesn't know when he'll be able to return.

In the post, McTaggart writes, '"When I first started playing catch I usually shut it down for a while and this time when I shut it down and picked a ball back up, my shoulder didn't feel so great so I kind of had to take a step back," [Verlander] said.' 

Verlander — who turns 41 on Tuesday — opened up some more about the injury, saying, "So I kind of had to take a step back and really be diligent about my build-up. I've always been somebody who luckily can pick up a ball and start throwing it.

"This time, it wasn't quite as easy," Verlander continued, "so I had to slow down a little bit. I always like to give myself as much rest as possible, but my timeline is always tight. With a tight timeline, having to slow things down a little bit put me a little bit behind."

So although the injury doesn't sound too serious right now, the aging Verlander entering spring training with an arm ailment is notable because he was scratched from his 2023 Opening Day start with the New York Mets mere hours before the game was scheduled, due to an upper back/shoulder issue — which ultimately kept him from pitching for over a month. 

That being said, there is good news regarding Verlander: The future Hall of Famer did manage to throw off a mound this morning (albeit briefly, and with minimal intensity) — which bodes well for his impending return.

Despite missing last season's first month due to injury, Verlander is coming off another stellar year with the Mets and Astros, posting a 3.22 ERA and a 3.20 K/BB ratio in 162 1/3 innings.

The Astros organization and its fans don't need to be too concerned about their ace's status quite yet — but this certainly isn't the start to 2024 they had hoped for. 

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