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Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right (throwing) elbow, he announced in an Instagram video on Saturday. 

The text accompanying the video: 

After consulting with several of the best doctors, it has become clear that I need Tommy John surgery. I was hopeful that I would be able to return to competition in 2020, however, during my simulated game unfortunately the injury worsened. Obviously I'm extremely disappointed, but I will not let this slow down my aspirations for my career. I will approach this rehab the only way I know, attack and don't look back. I'm confident that with a proper rehabilitation program and my unwavering commitment that this surgery will ultimately lengthen my career as opposed to shorten it. I can't thank my teammates, coaches, the front office and my fans enough for the support they have given me so far in this process. I'm eager to get through this recovery and back on the field to continue to do what I love.  

Back on July 26, Verlander was shut down with a right forearm strain and there was a report from the Houston area that he was done for the season and would need Tommy John surgery. Verlander shot down the report on Twitter, calling it "inaccurate." 

With the procedure coming so late in 2020, the entire 2021 season is now in jeopardy for Verlander and he could be shooting for the start of the 2022 season. This is where it gets tricky, though. Verlander is only signed with the Astros through 2021 and that's his age-38 season. Surely he'll be motivated to get back on the mound and show he's worth getting signed as a free agent while heading to his age-39 season coming off Tommy John surgery with all that mileage (2,988 regular season innings and 187 2/3 playoff innings) on his arm. 

Verlander managed one start this season, getting the win after six innings in which he allowed two runs on three hits while striking out seven. 

In his 16-year career, Verlander is 226-129 with a 3.33 ERA (129 ERA+), 1.13 WHIP and 3,013 strikeouts. He's won two Cy Youngs, an MVP and a Rookie of the Year. He also has an ALCS MVP and a World Series ring. He's ticketed for the Hall of Fame, likely the minimum five years after he retires. 

His path forward, though, is fascinating, taking note of the above timeline.