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Astros ace Justin Verlander to miss six weeks after groin surgery

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander led Major League Baseball with 21 wins in 2019. File Photo by Trask Smith/UPI
Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander led Major League Baseball with 21 wins in 2019. File Photo by Trask Smith/UPI | License Photo

March 18 (UPI) -- Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander had groin surgery and is expected to miss about six weeks.

The Astros announced Verlander had the surgery Tuesday. The star pitcher experienced discomfort in his right groin early during spring training. The injury delayed his first pre-season start until March 3. He allowed six hits and two runs in two spring training appearances. He left his second start early due to a mild back muscle strain.

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"Initially, the hope was that physical therapy would be the proper course of action," Astros general manager James Click said. "However, after a recent setback in his rehab, the medical staff recommended that a surgical procedure was necessary."

Verlander has not missed a start since joining the Astros in 2017. He leads Major League Baseball with 46 wins and 513 innings pitched during that span.

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The Astros were scheduled to have opening day on March 26. MLB pushed that date back by at least two weeks last Thursday due to the coronavirus outbreak. MLB announced Monday that the start of the 2020 regular season will be delayed further, saying it will adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions' guideline of restricting events of more than 50 people or more for the next eight weeks.

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Verlander, 37, led baseball with 21 wins in 2019. He also started a league-high 34 games and led the league with 223 innings pitched.

Verlander's 2019 campaign included a no-hitter, a career-high 300 strikeouts and resulted in his second Cy Young Award. The eight-time All-Star and 2011 American League MVP has a $33 million salary in 2020 and 2021.

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