Houston Astros ace Verlander has Tommy John surgery

National Sports

FILE – In this March 3, 2020, file photo, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander walks in the dugout after pitching to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of a spring training baseball game in Jupiter, Fla. The Astros announced Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, that Verlander needs Tommy John surgery and could miss the entire 2021 season. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

HOUSTON (AP) — Astros ace Justin Verlander had Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.

General manager James Click announced Thursday that Verlander had the procedure a day earlier and estimated recovery time at about 12-14 months. That means the earliest Verlander could pitch for would be in the 2022 season and it might not be for the Astros. A right-hander who turns 38 in February, Verlander has a $33 million salary next year, then is eligible for free agency.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner made just one start this season, pitching six innings on July 24 in a win over Seattle on opening day before being placed on the injured list with strained right forearm. He attempted a comeback after he was injured, but announced on Sept. 19 that he would need Tommy John surgery.

Verlander joined the Astros in a trade on Aug. 31, 2017 and his stellar performance helped them to their first World Series title that season. He is 43-15 with a 2.45 ERA and 640 strikeouts in 74 starts in Houston.

Verlander went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA last year, striking out a career-high 300 and throwing the third no-hitter of his career. He pitched 223 innings, most in the majors, and made six more starts in the postseason as the Astros reached the World Series.

Verlander is 226-129 with a 3.33 ERA in 16 seasons. He has won two Cy Young Awards, was voted the 2011 AL MVP and was the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year. He has 3,013 strikeouts.

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