HOUSTON, Texas – Justin Verlander’s first Opening Day with the Houston Astros will be spent on the pitcher’s mound.
Monday, Astros manager A.J. Hinch named Verlander – the former Old Dominion star, Houston’s Opening Day starter. It will be the 10th time in 11 years Verlander will be the starting pitcher for his team’s opening game. Verlander made an Opening Day start for the Detroit Tiger from 2008 to 2014, as well as in 2015 and 2016.
“It’s an honor, especially on this team with the pedigrees that we have,” Verlander told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. “Obviously, I wasn’t expecting it or hadn’t really even thought about it, to be honest with you. It’s always an honor to have your name called.”
Houston opens the regular season March 29th at the Texas Rangers. The Astros’ Dallas Keuchel will pitch the next day.
Verlander, who helped the Astros win the franchise’s first ever World Series last season, was acquired by Houston from Detroit in a deadline deal August 31st. He went 5-and-0 with a 1.06 ERA in the regular season after being traded to the Astros.
At ODU, Verlander pitched in 46 games for the Monarchs from 2002 to 2004, starting all 46. He won 21 career games and is the all-time strikeout king in ODU, the Colonial Athletic Association and the Commonwealth of Virginia history with 427 in only 335.2 innings of work for an average of 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings.