Astros manager provides encouraging update on Houston's ace Justin Verlander

Verlander on opening day
Fans can watch Verlander pitch in Sugar Land this Sunday. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Houston ace Justin Verlander is scheduled to make his first rehabilitation start at Triple-A Sugar Land Sunday.

The 41-year-old Verlander, who opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder, will throw a bullpen session Thursday in Houston before making his start this weekend.

Manager Joe Espada said he expects this to be the first of two minor league starts Verlander will make before he comes off the injured list.

“Just based on what I’ve seen and out of his live BPs and how he’s talking about how he feels, I think two starts... should be good enough,” Espada said.

Espada said they want Verlander to throw 70-75 pitches on Sunday and get up 85-90 in the following start.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner is in his second stint in Houston after rejoining the team in a trade with the New York Mets in July.

He went 13-8 with a 3.22 ERA in 27 starts for the Mets and Astros last season.

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