Astros star Justin Verlander pulled ahead of start vs. Tigers with lingering neck issue

Verlander, 41, is now considered day-to-day for the Astros

Houston Astros veteran Justin Verlander was scratched from Saturday’s matchup with the Detroit Tigers at the last minute due to neck discomfort.

Verlander was set to start their matchup with the Tigers at Minute Maid Park on Saturday afternoon. Instead, it was Spencer Arrighetti who got the start on the mound.

The issue, manager Joe Espada said, is something that Verlander has been fighting for a few weeks now.

“He’s been dealing with this for like the last two weeks, trying to pitch through it,” Espada said before the game, via ESPN. “And we just felt like it’s smart if we could take a break here, skip a start and try to get to the bottom of it.”

Verlander, 41, is currently being considered day-to-day. The team is hopeful that he won’t need to hit the injured list.

Verlander, who spent the first 12 years of his career with the Tigers after they selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2004, said he had to cut a bullpen session short on Wednesday due to his neck issue, too.

Justin Verlander has apparently been dealing with his neck injury for the past few weeks.
Justin Verlander has apparently been dealing with his neck injury for the past few weeks. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

"It wasn't worse. It just kind of like flared up a little bit on me," he said on Saturday. "And after a couple of my games, it's been a little stiff and then I've been able to work through it and throw and get all the stuff I needed to get done. But during the bullpen, it flared up on me a little bit and I just kind of pulled the chute and tried not to be stupid about it and push it like I normally would."

Verlander holds a 3.95 ERA and a 3-2 record in 10 starts so far this season. He allowed four runs and five hits in his most recent start last Sunday, when the Astros fell to the Los Angeles Angels.

Without Verlander on the mound, the Astros struggled. The Tigers jumped up 10-0 after just three innings, and Arrighetti was pulled in the second after he gave up seven runs. The Tigers then cruised to a 13-5 win in which they had 19 hits. The loss, Houston's fourth in its last six, dropped the Astros to 32-39 on the season.

Arrighetti was slated to start on Sunday against the Tigers. It's unclear who will take his place to close out the three-game series.

"Missing a start, it's not something you want to have happen," Verlander said. "But honestly, day to day is a good thing ... and you've got to trust the trainers, trust everybody you're talking to, and I think the prognosis is pretty good. So I can't put a rating on it, but I feel OK about it."