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Mets' Justin Verlander will begin season on Injured List due to low grade teres major strain

Mar 26, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws a pitch against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Clover Park.
Mar 26, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws a pitch against the Miami Marlins during the first inning at Clover Park. / Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Just a few hours before the Mets’ Opening Day matchup with the Miami Marlins, the club announced that starting pitcher Justin Verlander will begin the season on the Injured List.

The three-time Cy Young winner is on the IL with a low grade teres major strain. He will continue throwing “at moderate intensity” and will be scanned again in a week.

"Last night post workout, Justin told us about feeling a little something behind in his side," GM Billy Eppler said. "We sent him for an MRI this morning, got the results, and then had multiple doctors look at it. It showed a low grade teres major strain. So the good news is he'll continue to throw, so he'll be throwing this week. And then in about a week on the day of our home opener, we'll scan him again and then we'll provide an update."

Verlander was previously scheduled to start on Saturday in Miami and then in the Mets home opener on April 6. Now, the plan is for Tylor Megill to join the team and likely start on both of those days.

For now, the Mets aren't giving much of an exact timeline when it comes to how long Verlander will be out, but Eppler said that he will take things "week to week" and see how the veteran progresses.

"The fact that the doctors stressed low grade, both independent of each other, I don't know," Eppler said. "'I'm just going to play this as week to week, at least for the first week, and then when we scan next week we'll have a little bit better update."

Verlander signed a two-year, $86 million contract with the Mets this season, fresh off leading the Astros to a World Series title.

The 40-year-old is coming off the best season of his career, posting a 1.75 ERA with a 0.829 WHIP while striking out 185 batters in 175.0 innings. Verlander made five starts during spring training, pitching to a 3.00 ERA with 22 strikeouts and 10 walks over 21.0 innings.

While it's certainly a big blow to the Mets' starting rotation, Buck Showalter is confident in his club's ability to step up in Verlander's place.

"Like I told the coaches when Edwin [Diaz] went down, this is where the team and everyone in the organization gets a chance to shine," the skipper said. We hit a lot of bumps along the way last year, we overcame a lot of things. We had to bob and weave along the way and we will again this year."