Justin Verlander optimistic, but cautious with calf rehab

Astros ace Justin Verlander says his rehabilitation from a right calf injury is progressing “about as well as anyone could have hoped for thus far”, but he will continue to show dedication. extreme caution given the Astros’ huge lead in the American League West and starting rotation. performance in his absence.

“Given the timing of the season, the performance of our starters and the way we’ve positioned ourselves, I think caution is the word to use,” Verlander said Wednesday. “I think even if I rushed to come back (back) right after the 15 days was up, I don’t know if that would even award an extra start throughout the rest of the regular season or not, instead of giving him another four days or so.

Verlander said he took three days off after his injury on Aug. 28 and has since returned to pitching as he normally would between starts. He pitched the slope of the bullpen mound Wednesday before the team’s game against the Rangers, but didn’t progress to throw the pitcher’s rubber.

Verlander’s next step would be a light bullpen session off the rubber, which he hoped could happen in the next few days. American League favorite Cy Young has only thrown from flat ground and the middle of the mound since sustaining his injury.

Because Verlander injured his leg, he’s able to keep his arm in shape and as a result said he probably wouldn’t need a minor league rehab assignment. This, however, means that Verlander must pass a series of agility and running tests before he can return to a major league mound.

Verlander is first eligible to return from injured reserve on September 14. Earlier this week, general manager James Click told the team’s pre-game radio show that Verlander would “probably take a little longer” than the required 15 days before returning to the rotation of the team. .

Verlander appeared to echo those sentiments on Wednesday, but declined to offer a concrete timeline for his return.

“We haven’t really set a date yet, it’s just kind of ‘see it go as you progress’ and I’m progressing very quickly,” Verlander said. “But I think discretion is the best part of bravery. I think that would apply here, trying not to push myself too far and not do anything stupid. I really feel like I dodged a bullet, so I couldn’t forgive myself or look my teammates in the eye if I tried to push myself away for potentially an extra start.

Verlander said he would like to accompany the club on their next three-day trip to Detroit, where he played for the first 12 years of his career, but did not look like someone who would make a triumphant return for the last. game of this series — the first day it can be activated.

“Everything has recovered and progressed as we would have hoped, if not a bit better,” Verlander said. “Just very optimistic but also cautious, especially given the time of year. Not trying to push things too hard.

odds and ends

Bench coach Joe Espada is out of the squad to attend to a personal matter in his native Puerto Rico, manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday. Baker said he doesn’t know when Espada might return. … Utility Aledmys Díaz departed Wednesday for Round Rock, where he is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with class AAA Sugar Land. Díaz has been on the injured list since August 17 with a left groin injury. …. Against the Angels this weekend, the Astros will start Lance McCullers Jr. on Friday, Jose Urquidy on Saturday and Luis Garcia on Sunday, which paves the way for rookie Hunter Brown to start one of the first two games of the league. team in Detroit next week. Brown is a Detroit native who grew up watching games at Comerica Park. …. Closer Ryan Pressly kicked off another bullpen session Wednesday, but remained on the injured list with a stiff neck. Pressly can be activated at any time.

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