Zach Eflin

Phillies make transactions as 2 players become free agents

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Phillies make transactions as 2 players become free agents

The Phillies on Monday made a handful of transactions.

Right-handers Zach Eflin, Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez were reinstated from the 60-day disabled list, as were utility man Pedro Florimon and reliever Jesen Therrien.

Both Florimon and Therrien were outrighted to Triple A Lehigh Valley and become free agents.

Eflin, 23, last pitched on Aug. 18 and finished the season on the DL with a right shoulder strain. For Eickhoff, 27, "nerve irritation" in his right throwing hand ended his 2017 season in late August. Velasquez, 25, had a blood flow issue in his pitching arm that caused numbness and bruising in his right middle finger. As a result, his final outing came on Aug. 10 and he underwent surgery in September.

All three are expected to compete for starting rotation spots in spring training.

Florimon, who turns 31 in December, and Therrien, 24, are now off the 40-man roster. Florimon played 15 games last season before suffering a dislocated right ankle, while Therrien saw two stints with the Phillies, posting an 8.35 ERA in 18 1/3 innings. He dominated in the minors, compiling a 1.41 ERA between Double A and Triple A to go with nine saves, 65 strikeouts, nine walks and a .191 opponents' batting average.

Therrien underwent Tommy John surgery in September and will miss all of 2018.

Vince Velasquez done for season with blood flow issue — and other Phillies pitching matters

Vince Velasquez done for season with blood flow issue — and other Phillies pitching matters

A busy day for the Phillies on Tuesday — a doubleheader against the Marlins, preceded by a series of pitching moves

Roll call:

Right-hander Vince Velasquez was placed on the 60-day disabled list after tests revealed a blood flow issue in his pitching arm that has caused numbness and bruising in his right middle finger. He will have a surgical procedure this week and is expected to make a full recovery in time for spring training.

Right-hander Zach Eflin was placed on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder soreness.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta was added from Triple A as the 26th man for the doubleheader. He will start the nightcap (see game notes).

Right-handed reliever Yacksel Rios was brought up from Triple A to help in the bullpen.

Right-hander Mark Leiter Jr., who has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen, is back in the rotation and will start on Wednesday.

And finally, right-hander Jake Thompson is expected to come up from Triple A to pitch on Thursday, allowing Jerad Eickhoff, whose fastball velocity has been down a tick, an extra day between starts.

The big news here is Velasquez and his condition. The hard-throwing pitcher came to the Phillies in general manager Matt Klentak's first significant trade and was pegged as a staff building block. However, his two seasons with the Phillies have been plagued by inconsistency and injury. He missed time last year with a biceps strain and again this season with an elbow strain before exiting his start on Aug. 10 with numbness in his right middle finger.

According to Klentak, the discomfort is caused by an issue in the area of Velasquez' armpit, and the pitcher will have a "small procedure that will alleviate the issue," and allow "the blood flow to be normal again to his fingers."

Velasquez, 25, does not have thoracic outlet syndrome, a problem that has affected some pitchers.

The recuperation time for Velasquez will be six to eight weeks and he will continue to work as a starting pitcher in spring training.

"We do still think that Vince possesses all the ingredients to be a top-notch major league starter," Klentak said. "We have to see how the rest of the organization aligns around him. We’ll see what the offseason brings us as far as additional acquisitions are concerned but the hope would be that Vince would still be a starter.

"Every time he pitches we see that big fastball that generates swings and misses at an elite rate particularly when it’s up in the zone. As long as we keep seeing that, we know this guy can be an impact major league pitcher. He’s had his fair share of setbacks throughout the year and throughout his professional career, but we still believe really strongly in his future."

Eflin exited his last start with discomfort behind his right shoulder. It is his second trip to the DL this season. He missed time earlier with an elbow issue. As ominous as two trips to the DL with arm problems sounds, the Phils don't sound overly concerned.

"He’s feeling better every day," Klentak said. "We’re hoping that this will be a minimal DL stint."

Klentak emphasized that Eickhoff is healthy, despite the drop in velocity.

"Definitely healthy and he’s learning to mix pitches and change speeds," Klentak said. "Eickhoff, even throwing a few miles an hour less, when he’s locating and changing speeds is still very effective. So that’s what he’s learning right now."

Klentak said Eickhoff's extra day between starts had nothing to do with health or workload.

"It had a lot to do with coming out of a doubleheader and where we would slot Thompson in," he said. "Thompson’s day is actually (Wednesday) and rather than pushing him back two, or pushing him to Friday, we want to push him back one and push Eick back one. It was kind of cleaner that way."

Phillies place Vince Velasquez on 60-day DL; call up reliever Yacksel Rios

Phillies place Vince Velasquez on 60-day DL; call up reliever Yacksel Rios

The Phillies have made a flurry of moves ahead of Tuesday's doubleheader vs. the Marlins.

Vince Velasquez (finger) is heading to the 60-day disabled list, effectively ending his season. He'll have surgery to repair a vascular issue with his right middle finger, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.

Velasquez left his last start after just one inning on August 10 while surrendering three runs.

In 15 starts, Velasquez compiled a 5.13 ERA, while continuing to struggle with his command. The 25-year-old struck out 68 batters while walking 34 and averaged just 4.8 innings per start. 

In a corresponding move, the Phillies have called up RHP Yacksel Rios from Triple A to replace Velasquez on the 40-man roster. The 24-year-old has a combined 1.92 ERA in 37 games while splitting time between Reading and Lehigh Valley. 

Nick Pivetta was officially recalled from the minors to start Game 2 of today's doubleheader, while Zach Eflin (shoulder) was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday.