Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander revealed Saturday he will undergo Tommy John surgery, meaning the right-hander will likely miss all of the 2021 Major League Baseball season.
The 37-year-old former Detroit Tigers ace made his Opening Day start for Houston on July 24 and allowed two runs over six innings, but said afterward his arm was “tender.” The team announced days later he was out indefinitely with a forearm strain, and he refuted a report he would miss the remainder of the 2020 season.
In his effort to come back, Verlander said in a video posted on Instagram, he felt something in his elbow while pitching a simulated game earlier this week.
“After looking at the MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we determined Tommy John surgery is my best option,” the two-time Cy Young Award winner said. “Obviously, this is not good news. However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully come out the other side better for it.”
The 2011 American League MVP and eight-time All-Star will become a free agent in 2022. He was traded from the Detroit Tigers to Houston in 2017 and was the World Series MVP months later. In 2019, he secured his second Cy Young crown with 300 strikeouts in 223 innings and a 2.58 ERA, as the Astros lost the World Series in seven games to the Washington Nationals.
The timeline of Tommy John recovery means Verlander will not return to a big-league mound until he is 39, in all likelihood.
“I truly believe everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully when this rehab process is all said and done this will help me charge through the end of my career and allow me to be healthy and pitch as long as I want, and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career,” he said, adding the time off will allow him an opportunity to be with his young daughter.