Houston Astros fans nervously biting their nails and worrying about Justin Verlander's groin following offseason surgery can finally breathe a sign of relief. Verlander seems to be totally healed up based on his latest bullpen session, as that blistering fastball that touches 100 miles per hour easily is back in business.
The reigning Cy Young winner, fresh off leading the AL in innings pitched while striking out 300 batters at the age of 36, figures to once again be a major part of an Astros team that still has enough star power to compete for a championship, even in a severely shortened format.
Losing Gerrit Cole to the New York Yankees means that the starting rotation will have to be carried by a 37-year-old Verlander and a 36-year-old Zack Greinke. JV going down for an extended period of time means that a team with championship aspirations would have to dig into the Triple-A ranks to replace him.
Keep that groin as iced up as humanly possible, Justin.
Whenever the season gets started, you can bet that Verlander will be ready to answer the call, defend his Cy Young award, and help the Astros do some damage in the late summer months.