Astros ace Justin Verlander will throw a side session Tuesday, and if that goes well he'll make his season debut this weekend against the Washington Nationals.

Houston manager Joe Espada made the announcement Monday but wouldn't say which game of the series Verlander would start. The three-game set begins Friday night.

"He's in a good spot," Espada said. "He feels good. He feels confident. He wants to contribute. He knows that we need him on the mound, we need his presence and right now and he's right where he needs to be."