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'Really dodged a bullet here' | Astros place ace Justin Verlander on injured list

Verlander was pulled after throwing three innings on Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles.

HOUSTON — The Houston Astros have placed pitcher Justin Verlander on the 15-day Injured List with an injured right calf, the team announced Tuesday.

An MRI showed Verlander had a "fascial disruption" but no muscle fiber disruption. Verlander will be placed on the IL retroactive to Aug. 29, meaning he could be back by mid-September at the earliest.

"This is relatively good news," Astros GM James Click said on Tuesday. "The fact that there is no muscle fiber disruption indicates a shorter healing time."

Verlander pitched three scoreless innings before departing because of right calf discomfort against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. As for when could he return?

"The decision is going to be made entirely based on how he feels and the recommendations from our doctors," Click said. "We are going to treat this medically and the return to play will be dictated by that."

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It was the shortest outing of the season for Verlander, one of the front-runners for the AL Cy Young Award.

"There was an injury, but when it comes to calf injuries...I feel like I've really dodged a bullet here," Verlander said after being placed on the IL. "All in all, I think this is about as good of news that I could get."

Verlander said he didn't realize how serious calf injuries can be.

 “After the diagnosis was given to me, when I was talking to the doctors about it is when I realized how close it came to being potentially season-ending. If the muscle fibers had been involved, I think we’re looking at a matter of weeks without even picking up a ball.”

Houston manager Dusty Baker said Verlander was going in for imaging on Monday, adding that he said he felt it when he went to cover first base during a rundown on a double play that ended the top of the third.

RELATED: Verlander makes push for third Cy Young award as league leader in wins

The Astros made several additional moves with Verlander going on the IL, including placing pitcher Hunter Brown, who had been with Sugar Land, on the Astros Taxi Squad. He will be with the team in Arlington as they prepare to face the Texas Rangers.

Meanwhile, the Astros hope and expect Verlander to heal in time for the postseason.

"Our hope and our expectation is that this should be relatively short term," Click said.

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