New York Mets ace-in-waiting Justin Verlander has yet to make his debut for the team thanks to a teres major muscle strain he suffered mere hours prior to Opening Day. The issue landed him on the injured list to start the season, and he's since been working his way back. Now he has a timeline for his return.
Verlander, who threw a successful simulated game on Sunday, will throw a three- or four-inning rehab start on Friday. Afterward, he'll rejoin the Mets, according Buck Showalter prior to Tuesday's game versus the Washington Nationals.
This trajectory likely means Verlander will be line to make his 2023 debut during the Mets' interleague road series against the Detroit Tigers that begins on May 2. That's a notable coincidence because Verlander was originally drafted by the Tigers with the No. 2 overall pick back in 2004, and then he went on to spend the first 13 years of his MLB career with Detroit.
That timeline, however, means that Verlander would miss the key four-game series against the division-rival Braves that immediately precedes the trip to Detroit. The team had initially hoped Verlander would be able to come off the IL in late April, but that seems unlikely to happen.
The Mets signed Verlander this past offseason to a two-year, $86.67 million contract to, in essence, replace outgoing ace Jacob deGrom, who signed with the Rangers. Verlander last season with the world-champion Astros won his third career Cy Young award. Going into this, his age-40 season, Verlander is just six wins shy of 250 for his career.
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The Mets are in need of rotation help right now. Co-ace Max Scherzer is presently serving a 10-game suspension for use of a banned grip-enhancing substance, and Carlos Carrasco (elbow) and José Quintana (rib) are both alongside Verlander on the IL. Despite those rotation upheavals, Buck Showalter's club enters Tuesday's home series against the Washington Nationals with a 14-9 record on the season.