Astros P Justin Verlander to begin 2024 season on injured list due to shoulder issue

It's not a setback in Verlander's recovery — he just needs more build-up time

The Houston Astros will be without Justin Verlander for the start of the 2024 season, as he will be heading to the injured list.

Astros manager Joe Espada said Tuesday that the 41-year-old pitcher needs more time to build up from a shoulder issue that caused a delay in Verlander's start to spring training.

"He's doing well, but we're running out of days and won't be able to build him up to start the regular season," Espada said, via's Brian McTaggert.

Espada noted that Verlander's IL trip is not due to any sort of setback in his recovery.

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As the future Hall of Famer continues to prepare for the 2024 season, he threw 60 pitches during a bullpen session Sunday.

The Astros begin the season at home March 28 against the New York Yankees. When Verlander said last month that his recovery was behind schedule, he did not know if his availability for Opening Day was in jeopardy, as it was "too far down the road."

"I guess my body doesn't respond the same at 40 as it did at 25, so I'm a couple of weeks behind," Verlander said in February. "Let’s see how things go. If it ends up a little late, it’s a little late. If it’s on time, it’s on time. I’m not trying to rush."

Verlander is in the second year of a two-year, $86.76 million deal signed in 2022 with the New York Mets. The three-time Cy Young Award winner missed the first five weeks of last season due to a shoulder strain. He was reacquired by the Astros via trade in August.

The Mets might not employ Verlander anymore, but they still have an interest in his health. As part of the trade to Houston, the Mets agreed to pay $25 million of his 2024 salary and half of his potential $35 million salary in 2025. Verlander has a player option for 2025 that vests if he pitches 140 innings this season, which would put the Mets on the hook for half of his salary payments next year.