Justin Verlander on surgery recovery, timeline of return, and career longevity

The Astros Ace is recovering from Tommy John surgery

FILE - In this March 3, 2020, file photo, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander walks in the dugout after pitching to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of a spring training baseball game in Jupiter, Fla.  The Astros announced Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, that Verlander needs Tommy John surgery and could miss the entire 2021 season.  (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
FILE - In this March 3, 2020, file photo, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander walks in the dugout after pitching to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of a spring training baseball game in Jupiter, Fla. The Astros announced Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, that Verlander needs Tommy John surgery and could miss the entire 2021 season. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

When the Astros announced they would make Justin Verlander available via Zoom to Houston media on Friday afternoon, the speculation began. Would Verlander, in the middle of rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, announce retirement?

He quickly put that rumor to rest, tweeting “Lol…. Man y’all are crazy. I’m not retiring! I was asked to do a zoom call to give updates to the media. Sooooo here’s the update. I’m feeling awesome and plan on still pitching for a long time.”

While Verlander didn’t offer specifics on his timeline, it was the most we’ve heard from the Astros ace in a long time. Here’s what he had to say.

On where he’s at in his recovery, and what his goals are:

“I don’t know time-wise where I’m at,” said Verlander. “I’m throwing at 90 feet right now, feeling great. Timeline.. impossible. I know it sounds cliche, but I’m taking it one day at a time.”

“I have to listen to my doctors, and my body, but the hard thing about this is it’s one of those surgeries that they told me, ‘you can’t overpush it,’ which is against my nature,” said Verlander, who said when he’s been injured in the past, he usually tried to come back as soon as possible.

“First and foremost, I want to make sure I hit every check mark, every step of the way. And not try to look too far ahead.”

On being away from the game: