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New York Mets right-hander and offseason free-agent addition Justin Verlander will be placed on the injured list with a strained teres major muscle, the club announced on Thursday.

Here's the announcement:

The Mets do not presently know how long Verlander will be sidelined or how many starts he'll miss. That the injury is classified as low-grade is encouraging, and a timetable will likely emerge after the re-scan. Verlander had been slated to start against the Marlins on Saturday. Fellow ace Max Scherzer starts for the Mets on Opening Day against Miami. 

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 his age-40 season, Verlander is just six wins shy of 250 for his career. 

The loss of Verlander is a blow for the Mets in the tough NL East. Thanks to owner Steve Cohen's heavy investments in payroll, there's pressure on the club to fend off the Braves and Phillies in the division and make a deep run into October. Verlander is a key part of those ambitions. The Mets were already down one key member of the rotation, as José Quintana underwent rib surgery during the spring.