The Astros have shut right-hander Justin Verlander down for the time being due to a “mild lat strain,” general manager James Click tells reporters (Twitter link, with video, via Alyson Footer of MLB.com). There’s no timetable for when Verlander will resume throwing yet, and the organization is uncertain as to whether Verlander will be ready for Opening Day.
While there’s no cause for panic among Astros fans yet, it’s also a rather discouraging update following Verlander’s recent MRI. If he’s unable to take the ball come Opening Day, one would imagine that fellow veteran Zack Greinke would get the nod in the season opener. But the Astros are already facing some uncertainty on the starting staff, with Tommy John returnee Lance McCullers Jr. and the relatively inexperienced Jose Urquidy slotted into the third and fourth slots in the rotation.