SEATTLE MARINERS

AL West Check-In: Astros’ Verlander nears season debut

Apr 15, 2024, 2:18 PM | Updated: 3:56 pm

Astros Verlander...

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander warms up during 2024 spring training. (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP)

(Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) — Astros ace Justin Verlander will throw a side session Tuesday, and if that goes well he’ll make his season debut this weekend against the Washington Nationals.

Mariners Updates: Latest on Canzone injury; Clase set to debut

Houston manager Joe Espada made the announcement Monday, but wouldn’t say which game of the series Verlander would start. The three-game set begins Friday night.

“He’s in a good spot,” Espada said. “He feels good. He feels confident. He wants to contribute. He knows that we need him on the mound, we need his presence and right now and he’s right where he needs to be.”

The Astros entered Monday with a 6-11 record, a half-game back of the 6-10 Seattle Mariners and last place in the American League West.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder. He made two rehabilitation starts, the first for Triple-A Sugar Land on April 7 before Saturday’s start for Double-A Corpus Christi.

Verlander spoke to reporters before Espada announced the Astros’ plans for the 41-year-old, who deferred to the manager on questions regarding his return. But he did discuss his health.

“Pitch count-wise, I think it’s pretty close and health-wise I bounced back all the ways I would like to have seen,” he said. “Like we had talked about earlier kind of at length, some of the things that have been difficult for me to do are becoming easier and easier.”

“So I feel like I’ve kind of checked all the boxes that need to be checked,” he continued. “And I do feel like I’m ready to step on the mound again, whether that’s for us or somebody else. So that’s again, their decision.”

Verlander wasn’t thrilled with the results in his rehabilitation starts, but he said those games were valuable in getting him prepared to come off the IL.

He allowed seven hits and six runs — five earned — in four innings against Frisco Saturday. He struck out three, walked one and threw 51 of 77 pitches for strikes.

Verlander allowed six earned runs and struck out six while pitching into the fourth inning for Sugar Land.

“You’re not quite in season form,” he said. “The only way to practice pitching at full speed is to actually go out there and do it. As much as I would like to, I can’t practice full speed in the bullpen. It’s just not possible. So you really hope that your body starts to sync things up when you’re out there in a game and you learn from each time you’re out there, and I think I’m doing just that.”

Salk: The problem with Seattle Mariners’ offense is a new one

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Mostly Sunny
High 80° | Low 58°
No game today.

Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners T-Mobile Park batter's eye...

Brent Stecker

Does Mariners’ T-Mobile Park need a change to attract hitters?

"I think that this is something that is fixable. There are elements to your ballpark that are not fixable," MLB Network's Jon Morosi said.

6 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Houston Astros Trey Cabbage 2024...

Tim Booth

Astros shut out Mariners 3-0, move into virtual tie atop AL West

The Seattle Mariners mustered just four hits and lost their hold on first place in the AL West with a 3-0 loss to the Houston Astros.

20 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Bryan Woo Los Angeles Angels 2024 Getty 900...

Cameron Van Til

Servais explains Mariners’ rotation strategy for Astros series

Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais detailed why they plan to start Bryan Woo instead of Logan Gilbert in Sunday's series finale.

23 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Gabe Speier Kansas City Royals 2024...

Cameron Van Til

Key Mariners reliever returns, recent addition DFA’d

The Seattle Mariners activated left-handed reliever Gabe Speier from the injured list and designated reliever Mike Baumann for assignment.

1 day ago

Seattle Mariners trade deadline Isaac Paredes Andrés Muñoz Logan Gilbert...

Brent Stecker

ESPN’s Passan: One hitter makes most sense for a Mariners trade

The MLB trade deadline market may be squished, but the Seattle Mariners may still be able to make a run at Tampa Bay slugger Isaac Paredes, says ESPN's Jeff Passan.

1 day ago

Seattle Mariners J.P. Crawford...

SeattleSports.com Staff

4 Takes: Which Mariners hitter should you buy stock in for second half?

The Seattle Mariners' struggling offense features plenty of players performing well off previous seasons. We share our picks who will snap out of it in the second half.

1 day ago

AL West Check-In: Astros’ Verlander nears season debut