WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WTKR)- For the second straight season, Justin Verlander will be on the bench for Opening Day.
Astros' manager Dusty Baker said on Tuesday that the former Old Dominion star will not start Houston's April 7 opener against the Angels. The hope is for the pitcher to be able to utilize the team's three off days throughout the first two weeks of the season, exercising caution despite Verlander's solid spring so far.
The right handed pitcher is coming off Tommy John surgery and has not pitched in a regular season game since July of 2020. The 39-year old has started to regain his sharpness during Spring Training this year, throwing 8.2 innings of shutout baseball over three starts. He's given up five hits, struck out ten and walked just three so far during the preseason. He's expected to make one more start before the regular season begins.
Verlander has won two Cy Young Awards and an American League MVP. He is one of just six pitchers all-time to throw three no-hitters and has eclipsed the 3,000 strikeout mark.