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Astros place Justin Verlander on injured list with neck discomfort

CHICAGO (AP) — Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander went on the 15-day injured list on Tuesday to give him more time to resolve his lingering neck discomfort.

The 41-year-old Verlander was scratched from Saturday’s start against the Detroit Tigers. The three-time AL Cy Young Award winner also missed the start of the season due to inflammation in his right shoulder.

Verlander had been trying to pitch through the neck issue, but it wasn't getting any better.

“He just wasn't feeling well enough to start playing catch,” manager Joe Espada said before Houston's 2-0 loss at the Chicago White Sox. “So he just needs some more time to get over this."

Espada said there was no further testing planned for Verlander.

“We're just going to give him some time with no throw and see if we can get some of that neck discomfort (and) stiffness out of there before he starts throwing again,” Espada said.

Houston has been hit hard by injuries, especially on the pitching side. Cristian Javier and José Urquidy each had Tommy John surgery this month. Lance McCullers Jr. and Luis Garcia could return after the All-Star break after missing the start of the season as part of the recovery process from major operations.

Verlander is 3-2 with a 3.95 ERA in 10 starts this season. Espada said a timeline for Verlander's return depends on his recovery.

“Definitely will miss a start, but we'll see how long it would take to get him back on the mound,” he said.

Espada said he wasn't ready to announce a starter for Thursday's game against the White Sox. Spencer Arrighetti, who subbed for Verlander on Saturday, is one possible option.

Right-hander Nick Hernandez was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land to replace Verlander on the roster.

Houston also was without sluggers Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker for the opener of its three-game set at Chicago.

Alvarez was dealing with a family matter, Espada said, but could be back in the lineup as soon as Wednesday. Alvarez is batting .290 with 14 homers and 37 RBIs in 71 games this season.

Tucker, who leads the Astros with 19 homers, is on the 10-day IL with a bruised right shin.

“He's doing better. Just slower than we were expecting,” Espada said. “We were expecting him by today just kind of start running around and moving around. He's doing some of that, but in the weight room.”

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

Jay Cohen, The Associated Press