Astros’ Justin Verlander announces he needs Tommy John surgery

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander walks back to the dugout. (David J. Phillip/AP)

In an Instagram post on Saturday, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander said that he needs to undergo Tommy John surgery.

“After consulting with several of the best doctors, it has become clear that I need Tommy John surgery,” Verlander wrote. “I was hopeful that I would be able to return to competition in 2020, however, during my simulated game unfortunately the injury worsened.”

Verlander threw 75 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday that preceded the decision.

The two-time Cy Young winner has been sidelined since the end of July with a forearm injury. An MRI at the time indicated he would miss at least two weeks.

“Obviously I’m extremely disappointed, but I will not let this slow down my aspirations for my career,” Verlander wrote. “I will approach this rehab the only way I know, attack and don’t look back. I’m confident that with a proper rehabilitation program and my unwavering commitment that this surgery will ultimately lengthen my career as opposed to shorten it.”

During the Tommy John procedure, a surgeon replaces the injured ulnar collateral ligament — which connects the bone in the upper arm to the one in the forearm — with a tendon taken from somewhere else in the patient’s body.

An athlete can gradually return to throwing between six and nine months following a Tommy John surgery, according to Johns Hopkins university.

Verlander was 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA last season and led the majors in wins and innings (223). The 37-year-old, now in his 16th season in the major leagues, won his first Cy Young Award in 2011 when he was also was voted AL MVP. He is 226-129 with a 3.33 ERA and 3,013 strikeouts in his career.

“I can’t thank my teammates, coaches, the front office and my fans enough for the support they have given me so far in this process,” Verlander wrote. “I’m eager to get through this recovery and back on the field to continue to do what I love.”

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