Justin Verlander's season is in serious jeopardy.
The Houston Astros ace and reigning AL Cy Young Award winner suffered a right forearm strain that will sideline him for the foreseeable future, manager Dusty Baker said Sunday.
Verlander underwent an MRI on Saturday that revealed the injury, Baker told reporters, including Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.
"He's shut down for a couple of weeks and we'll re-evaluate at that time," Baker said. "That's all I can tell you."
Verlander confirmed the injury on Twitter, adding that an earlier report suggesting he'd miss the rest of the season was incorrect.
Verlander beat the Seattle Mariners on Friday, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out seven over six innings. His velocity didn't decline during that start.
But Baker said Verlander was pulled from his Opening Day start when the hurler noted his arm was "a little tender," according to Daniel Gotera of KHOU-TV. Despite feeling something, the manager said Verlander wanted to continue pitching.
Until now, the veteran has never endured significant arm trouble during his career and has been consistently durable. Prior to this year, he's only failed to make 30 starts once when a triceps issue cost him part of 2015.
In March, the 37-year-old underwent groin surgery, and he also dealt with a lat issue before the pandemic halted spring training. During the shutdown, he not only rehabbed the groin issue, but also fully rebuilt his pitching mechanics.
Since joining the Astros in 2017, Verlander has revitalized his career while re-emerging as one of MLB's top five pitchers. Last year, he struck out 300 batters and led the majors in WHIP en route to winning his second career Cy Young, while also helping the Astros to their second AL pennant in three years.
The 2011 AL MVP ranks 18th all time with 3,018 strikeouts - tops among active pitchers - and his 226 wins also leads current big-leaguers. Last September, he became one of only six pitchers in MLB history to throw three no-hitters.