Justin Verlander update couldn’t have come at better time after Astros terrible start

The Astros need Justin Verlander back in the rotation in the worst way.
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Help is on the way, Astros fans. After what's been a disastrous start to the 2024 season, the Houston faithful could use a little good news. How does the return of Justin Verlander sound?

Now, before you start doing backflips, Verlander isn't ready to return to the big league mound just yet. The former Cy Young Award-winner was slowed this spring by a shoulder issue and was left off the Houston Astros Opening Day roster.

But Verlander is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Monday. According to MLB.com, that outing will include about 50 pitches and is expected to last about three innings. The next step would be a rehab assignment, and if all goes well, Verlander should be back in the Astros starting rotation later this month.

Justin Verlander injury update couldn’t have come at better time after Astros’ terrible start

The Astros start to the 2024 season has been one that new manager Joe Espada would just as soon like to forget. The 'Stros are 0-4, and to make matters worse all four losses came at home. Top that off with the fact that the hated New York Yankees are the team that has caused all this suffering, and Astros fans are at a loss.

The Astros hitting has been horrific. Jose Abreu is 0-for-11 to start the year and Yordan Alvarez is hitting just .118 with no extra-base hits. While Jeremy Peña, Yainer Diaz, and Jose Altuve have done their part, it hasn't been enough when the Astros bullpen keeps folding like a cheap lawn chair.

Josh Hader had performed as advertised until Sunday's ninth-inning collapse. The Astros closer was saddled with the L after allowing what would be the game-winning RBI off the bat of Juan Soto. Tayler Scott has been dreadful with as many strikeouts (4) as walks. And it looks as though Rafael Montero's struggles from 2023 have carried over to this season.

If Verlander's simulated game goes as planned and there are no setbacks, that'll be the best news Astros fans can hope for. While Christian Javier and Hunter Brown put up solid performances against the Yankees this past weekend, J.P. France did not. France allowed three runs on six hits and is the most likely pitcher to lose his spot in the rotation when Verlander returns.

There's time for the collective to recover, but positive updates on the Verlander front will no doubt give this team a boost.

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