Verlander allows 6 earned runs, strikes out 6 in 1st rehab start for Houston's Triple-A team

Updated Apr. 7, 2024 9:30 p.m. ET

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Justin Verlander allowed six earned runs and struck out six in pitching into the fourth inning of his first injury rehabilitation start Sunday for the Houston Astros' Triple-A Sugar Land Space Cowboys.

The 41-year-old right-hander, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, threw 46 of 65 pitches for strikes against Oakland's Las Vegas Aviators. Verlander retired his first four batters, then allowed hits to his next six. Five of those were for extra bases, leading to five runs.

Verlander began this season on the 15-day injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder.

“I did accomplish my No. 1 goal, which was to throw 65 pitches and feel healthy,” Verlander said. “In an ideal world, you go out there and the timing is right, and everything is where you want it to be, but it’s not super realistic. My timing was a little off, so my pitches were a little erratic. Time on the mound is the only thing that can help resolve that.”


Carlos Pérez hit a tying solo homer in the second, Daz Cameron doubled and Hoy Park singled. Brett Harris hit a two-run triple, and Max Muncy and Esteury Ruiz hit consecutive RBI doubles.

After a 1-2-3 third, Park reached on an error leading off the fourth, and Verlander was pulled following a walk to Harris and Muncy's RBI double that led to an unearned run.

“Stuff looked good, 95, threw some good sliders and some changeups,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. "Hopefully he feels good tomorrow. I think that’s the most important thing, how he bounces back.”

Verlander, reacquired by Houston from the New York Mets last July, is expected to make at least one more rehab start in the minors. He was 13-8 with a 3.22 ERA in 27 starts last year.

Astros right-hander Shawn Dubin also made his first rehab appearance, striking out two of four batters and throwing 16 of 22 pitches for strikes. He began the season on the IL due to a right forearm strain.