Astros ace Verlander pulled early with triceps soreness

Sports

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander throws a pitch during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander felt soreness in his triceps and made an early exit from an exhibition start Sunday, and the AL Cy Young Award winner was headed for more tests.

Verlander was set to pitch four innings against the New York Mets. But with his velocity down from his previous start, Verlander was pulled after two scoreless innings.

“It’s some tricep soreness, so we took him out as a precaution,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said.

“We’re going to send him to go get some tests run and make sure it’s nothing. We’ve got to take care of the big horse,” he said.

The 37-year-old Verlander was slowed by a groin injury earlier in spring training.

The right-hander threw over 50 pitches in 2 2/3 innings against St. Louis on Tuesday. He didn’t reach 30 pitches against the Mets, allowing three hits without a run while striking out one and walking none.

Verlander was dominant last year, going 21-6 for the Astros and leading the majors in wins, opponents’ batting average (.172), WHIP (0.80) and innings pitched (223). He also tossed his third career no-hitter while striking out a career-high 300 and posting a 2.58 ERA.

Verlander then started six times in the postseason, going 1-4 and pitching 35 1/3 innings. The Astros lost the World Series in seven games to Washington.

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