Astros News: Justin Verlander to undergo Tommy John surgery

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander is going to undergo Tommy John surgery.

What we’ve suspected for the past couple of months has unfortunately come true. Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander announced on Saturday that he will undergo Tommy John surgery, which will end his attempt to return the mound in 2020 and likely keep him out for all of the 2021 season as well.

Ever since the 37-year-old left his Opening Day start with what was termed a “forearm strain,” the notion has been out there. While it was initially reported that he would miss the remainder of the season, Verlander attempted to rest and then rehab the balky elbow in an effort to pitch again in 2020 and help the Astros in the postseason.

The team was optimistic that he would be able to do so, but unfortunately that was all derailed when he faced live hitters for the first time this week. Verlander said he felt something in his elbow, which prompted him to consult with doctors and revealed that his elbow injury had gotten worse.

Given the typical recovery time, it’s highly unlikely that Verlander will pitch at all in 2021, which is the final year of his contract with the Houston. With that being the case, there’s a real (and scary) possibility that he’s thrown his last pitch for the Astros.

Bouncing Back

If you think this is going to be a career-ender for Verlander, think again. Most pitchers who have Tommy John surgery at his age aren’t able to make it back to a big league mound, but of course this guy isn’t most pitchers. He’s long talked of wanting to pitch until he’s 45, and it sounds like he isn’t wavering from that at all.

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“Obviously I’m extremely disappointed, but I will not let this slow down my aspirations for my career,” Verlander said in his statement. “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.”

If there’s anyone who can make that happen, it’s certainly Verlander. I wouldn’t bet against him returning to being a quality major league pitcher, and I would expect him to continue to add to his already-impressive Hall of Fame resume.

Whether that happens in Houston remains to be seen, of course. Both Verlander and the Astros will have decisions to make, and it will likely be several months, if not longer, before we have any idea of whether he’ll pitch for this team in 2022 or if he’ll suit up elsewhere. If it really is the end of his time here, we have no shortage of wonderful memories from him and plenty to be grateful for.