Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander said he has made significant progress following groin surgery last month and is very optimistic about his health.
Verlander had right groin surgery on March 17 and said he recently began throwing long toss with good effort, though he is still not 100 per cent.
The reigning American League (AL) Cy Young Award winner was also diagnosed with a lat strain in early March and now says that is just about healed.
"In general, everything's been moving in the right direction and it's started, these last couple of weeks, to feel very strong, particularly in throwing," Verlander said on a conference call with Houston-area reporters.
"I've made a big stride forward and am very optimistic about how it's feeling and looking."
The baseball season being delayed to the coronavirus pandemic has allowed Verlander to take his time during his rehab to make sure he is fully healthy to start his 16th major league season.
Verlander went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA and a career-high 300 strikeouts last season. He became the 18th pitcher in history to surpass 3,000 strikeouts for his career.