Astros pitcher Justin Verlander throws off mound


Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander has begun throwing from atop a mound, three months after undergoing surgery on his right groin.  

The 37-year-old right-hander posted a video to Instagram on Monday showing him in shorts and a t-shirt throwing a fastball off a mound.  

Verlander captioned the post: "Ready. Let's go!!"

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The post indicates that Verlander will almost certainly be fully recovered when the 2020 MLB season finally has its opening day.  

The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner was scratched from his first spring training start due to groin soreness and also suffered a strained latissimus dorsi in his back in early March.  

Verlander underwent surgery on March 17 to repair his right groin.  

The eight-time All-Star selection pitched one of his best seasons at 36 years old last year, compiling a 21-6 record in 34 starts and throwing 223 innings with 300 strikeouts and a 2.58 ERA.  

The Astros' ace was originally expected to miss six-to-eight weeks after surgery, but he has had plenty of time to recover due to the coronavirus pandemic delaying the start of the 2020 season.  

With Major League Baseball and the players' union failing to find middle ground in negotiations about how to conduct the shorted season, Verlander and other injured players have had the opportunity to rehabilitate at a relaxed pace.  

On Saturday, the players rejected the league's latest offer for a 72-game season that would pay them 80 per cent of their prorated salaries.  

The players have maintained throughout negotiations that they would not accept any offer that does not pay 100 per cent prorated salaries.  

After several exchanges between the two sides, the players' union walked away from the negotiating table on Saturday, asking MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to mandate a season, which would likely be close to 50 games.  

Under that arrangement, the players would receive full prorated pay and may seek legal action for lost games, claiming the league did not negotiate in good faith.  

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