Astros RHP Justin Verlander has lat strain, unlikely to be ready for Opening Day

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander has been shut down after an MRI revealed a mild lat strain, general manager James Click said Monday.

Verlander told reporters he is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.

"It would probably take a miracle to be back before Opening Day," Verlander said. "But I don't want to take miracles off the table."

Verlander was pulled from his spring training start against the New York Mets after two innings Sunday because of triceps soreness.

Verlander, 37, had been scheduled to pitch four innings but felt discomfort during the second inning and was sent for testing.

"I was surprised his velocity was down a tick from the last time," manager Dusty Baker said after pulling his ace Sunday, "but you know Verlander can dial it up when he gets ready. We didn't see anything. I was quite surprised when he came over and told me he had to come out of the game."

Verlander, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, has been dealing with groin tightness for much of spring training, but he said he thought that issue was behind him after making his spring debut Tuesday in 2⅔ innings against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Last season, Verlander went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 34 starts, leading the majors in wins, WHIP (0.80) and innings pitched (223). He struck out 300 batters and threw his third no-hitter.

Verlander went from +450 to +600 to win the AL Cy Young at Caesars Sportsbook off the news he'll unlikely be ready for Opening Day.

ESPN's Ben Fawkes contributed to this report.