Astros shut down Verlander due to lat strain, unlikely for Opening Day
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The Houston Astros have shut down right-hander Justin Verlander after an MRI revealed a mild lat strain, general manager James Click told reporters, including the Houston Chronicle's Chandler Rome, on Monday.

Click didn't provide a timetable for Verlander's return or say if the 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner will be ready for Opening Day.

"It's a situation where we're going to reassess to see how he feels. We're going to no-throw for a bit and we'll see," Click said, according to MLB.com's Alyson Footer.

Click added: "You're always concerned with a guy like this, of his caliber, but at the same time, I think the news we got today is on the positive side."

For his part, Verlander was pessimistic about his chances of being ready for the start of the season.

"I would say it would probably take a miracle for me to be back by Opening Day," he said.

The 37-year-old exited his start on Sunday with what was first described as right triceps soreness. He experienced the soreness and decreased velocity on his fastball before departing.

In 2015, Verlander missed significant time due to a lingering injury in a similar area. That ailment was initially misdiagnosed as a triceps strain and was later revealed to be a lat tear.

Houston is looking to Verlander and Zack Greinke to lead its starting rotation in 2020 after Gerrit Cole departed in free agency for the New York Yankees.

If Verlander misses time, Greinke will likely be followed in the rotation by Lance McCullers Jr., Jose Urquidy, Josh James, and Framber Valdez.

Verlander has been one of baseball's most durable hurlers throughout his career, tossing 200-plus innings in 12 different seasons.

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Astros shut down Verlander due to lat strain, unlikely for Opening Day
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