Astros ace Verlander set for rehab start Sunday

Astros ace Verlander set for rehab start Sunday

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

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 Wednesday 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 the Astros want Verlander to throw 70-75 pitches Sunday and get up to 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 from 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.