Astros Place Justin Verlander On IL With Calf Injury

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The Astros today announced a series of roster moves, the most notable of which are: Justin Verlander‘s placement on the 15-day injured list. Verlander, whose IL posting is retroactive to August 29, left his last start due to calf discomfort. Besides, outfielder Jake Meyers was chosen for Triple-A. To grab the two open roster spots, righty Brandon Bielak and first baseman/outfielder JJ Matijevic were recalled.

Verlander, 39, threw just six innings in 2020 and missed the entire 2021 season due to Tommy John’s surgery. He held an off-season showcase and showed enough promise that the Astros were willing to give him a $25 million salary this year, despite his lengthy layoff. Until this calf problem showed up, Verlander exceeded almost everyone’s expectations for a 39-year-old returning from such a long absence. Through 152 innings over 24 starts, he currently has a 1.84 ERA with a strikeout rate of 26.5%, a walk rate of 4.5% and a ground ball speed of 38.6%.

His fantastic comeback season will have to take a break, at least for a while. It seems that no one expects an extended absence, based on the word coming from members of the organization today. A team announcement said Verlander’s MRI showed “fascial disruption, but no muscle fiber disruption,” as reported by Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter.

Astros general manager James Click spoke to the media to provide more context, generally downplaying the importance of the issue. (Twitter left from Rome.) “This was relatively good news, I understand,” Click said. “Our hope and expectation is that this should be in the relatively short term.” Verlander himself then spoke about the matter, with Rome pass along some more quotes on Twitter. “The doctors said there was an injury, but when it comes to calf injuries, I feel like I really dodged a bullet here where the muscle isn’t involved,” Verlander said. He then added that he is disappointed to have to go to the IL, but gave the caveat that “in terms of the spectrum of calf injuries, this is as good news as I could have gotten.” He also added that if his muscle fibers had been injured, he would have been out for weeks and missed the rest of the season and possibly some playoffs.

All in all, it looks like everyone involved feels like Verlander can return soon, which would be great for both him and the team. In the short term, there is no reason for the Astros to panic, as their record of 82-47 is the best in the American League, ahead of the Mariners in the West Division by 11 1/2 games. They are also effectively guaranteed to earn one of two byes through the first round of the playoffs as they are four games ahead of the East-leading Yankees and 13 1/2 games ahead of the central-leading Guardians . Even without Verlander, the rotation should be in good shape, with Lance McCullers Jr., Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier still in place. In the long run, the ‘Stros will certainly hope the problem is over soon enough for Verlander to return for post-season action. There are just over five weeks left on the regular season schedule.

Verlander’s return could also affect his offseason as he may return to free agency. By going over 130 innings pitched this year, he was given a $25MM player option for 2023. Considering he just got $25MM after two lost seasons, it makes sense that he could top that number right after his outstanding campaign here in 2022 Based on that logic, it seems likely he would reject that option and return to the open market, especially if he can come back healthy and show no ill effects from this calf problem. On the other hand, if the coming weeks don’t go as smoothly as hoped and the injury continues, it could have a negative effect on his market this winter.

Meyers, 26, had a great debut for Houston last year, hitting .260/.323/.438 in 49 games. However, he has failed to extend that to 2022 as he has cut 0.209/.255/.302 for the year so far. It was rumored that Houston was looking for midfield upgrades by the deadline, but ultimately failed to pull the trigger on a deal. Based on those lanky numbers, Meyers will be sent to the minors to try and get back on track. Mauricio Dubon and Chas McCormick seem ticketed for work in the middle of the grass without Meyers, with Rome pass along word from Click.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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