Astros announce day for injured Justin Verlander's 2024 debut

Houston Astros right-hander Justin Verlander will make his season debut on Friday against the host Washington Nationals, manager Joe Espada said Wednesday.

Verlander, 41, opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder. The three-time Cy Young Award winner declared himself ready to go after rehabilitations starts for Triple-A Sugar Land and Double-A Corpus Christi.

"The first thing is health, and I came out of (Saturday's game with Corpus Christi) feeling good," Verlander said. "Obviously, I have some stuff to work on pitching-wise, but that's kind of what spring training is for and what rehab starts are for. I felt better last time than I did the [rehab start] before, so just keep building on that, and like I always do, kind of work on stuff in the bullpen in between and keep trying to make it click."

Espada said Verlander feels good and is confident that he's ready to go.

"He wants to contribute, and he knows that we need him on the mound, we need his presence, and right now, he's right where he needs to be," Espada said.

A two-time World Series champion, Verlander is heading into his 19th season. He finished 13-8 with a 3.22 ERA while splitting the 2023 season with the New York Mets and Astros.

Verlander is the active MLB leader in wins (257). The nine-time All-Star has a 3.24 ERA and 3,342 strikeouts in 509 career starts with the Detroit Tigers, Mets and Astros.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Justin Verlander injury update: Astros reveal 41-year-old's 2024 debut