The New York Mets placed right-hander Justin Verlander on the injured list with a low-grade muscle strain near his pitching shoulder, the team announced on Thursday.
The injury is to Verlander’s teres major (a muscle that connects the scapula to the upper arm) and he will continue to throw at “moderate intensity” with a reevaluation scheduled for next week.
The injury popped up following a bullpen session Wednesday after Verlander’s velocity fell in his final spring training start. The team did not hint there was any injury until the announcement on Thursday.
“This isn’t best-case scenario,” Verlander told the media in Miami. “But I would think this is probably second-best case. Very minimal.”
The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner was scheduled to pitch Saturday against the Miami Marlins, which would have been his regular-season Mets debut after signing a two-year, $86.66 million deal this offseason.
New York has faced a lot of injuries before Opening Day, with Edwin Diaz out for the season after hurting his knee celebrating at the World Baseball Classic and the team currently without starter Jose Quintana and reliever Sam Coonrod.
Verlander, 40, expressed confidence that the injury was minor, adding that he would pitch through an injury like this during the postseason. The righty previously missed the entire 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery before putting together one of the best seasons of his career in 2022, finishing 18-4 and posting a 1.75 ERA in 175 innings for the Houston Astros en route to his third Cy Young award.
The Mets signed Verlander after losing ace Jacob deGrom in free agency to the Texas Rangers.