Astros fans' nightmares become reality with latest Justin Verlander injury update

Unfortunately, the latest news on Justin Verlander's injury was decidedly not good.
Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Since it was revealed that Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander has been dealing with neck issues, fans have been holding their collective breaths. While both the team and Verlander did their best to play down the injury and said it was improving, Verlander having to be scratched from a start was genuine cause for concern.

That was pretty much the company line until Tuesday, when reporting that Verlander was progressing from his neck injury more slowly than the team had hoped started to surface. The writing was on the wall: the Astros could make the move to put him on the IL and make it retroactive enough to get him back relatively quickly, but still allow for Verlander to heal up.

That is exactly what happened Tuesday after as Houston placed Verlander on the injured list and recalled Nick Hernandez to take his place on the roster.

Astros News: Justin Verlander finally hits the injured list with neck discomfort

The most important part of this move is obviously Verlander going on the shelf. All we really know about his injury is that it involves his neck and it was improving before progress stalled over the last few days. Unfortunately, that doesn't really narrow things down as it could range from "Verlander is older and he slept wrong" to issues that could be far more serious and long-term.

Hopefully we will get more clarity on Verlander's situation from him or the team soon. It does feel like this could be a precautionary move to make sure that he is able to perform in the second half. However, neck injuries can be troublesome and it wasn't ideal that Verlander's progress didn't match with what the team was expecting.

In his place, Houston is giving Nick Hernandez another shot to contribute in the bullpen. Hernandez has made two appearances for the Astros this year with a 1.93 ERA after being traded to Houston back at the beginning of June. Hernandez has looked quite good in Triple-A with a 1.90 ERA while missing a bunch of bats, and he also has the ability to throw multiple innings, which could prove invaluable as the Astros weather yet another injury in the rotation.

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