Vince Velasquez's right biceps strain will require a trip to the disabled list. The Phillies placed the right-hander on the 15-day DL Friday, recalling reliever Luis Garcia to take his place on the 25-man roster.
Velasquez left his last start Wednesday after throwing just two pitches, both fastballs at 86 mph. He felt something in the bullpen on his third-to-last pitch before the game began but tried to play through it.
Velasquez didn't seem overly concerned by the injury Wednesday, but he hadn't yet had an MRI. In the visiting clubhouse, Cubs right-hander John Lackey said that bicep can be code for elbow and that he was initially diagnosed with a right biceps strain before needing Tommy John surgery in 2012.
Velasquez had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and missed nearly two full years rehabbing. He's dealt with various injuries throughout his pro career and this one is the latest. He also missed two months in 2014 with a groin strain and missed all of spring training in 2015 with a lat injury.
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Friday that Velasquez's MRI came back clean and that the DL stint is precautionary.
Velasquez had struggled in the three starts before he got hurt, allowing 12 runs in 13 innings, but he said he didn't feel anything in those outings.
The Phillies have not yet named Velasquez's replacement in the rotation but Mackanin said a starter will probably be called up to pitch Tuesday. There was some thought that the spot start could go to Brett Oberholtzer, who pitched four innings and allowed an unearned run in relief of Velasquez Wednesday. He had been struggling as the Phillies' long man, but did have a 3.84 ERA in 246⅓ career innings as a starter with the Astros. Oberholtzer talked Wednesday about the challenges he's had adjusting to his role as a reliever this season.
Starting pitcher candidates already on the 40-man roster are David Buchanan, who has a 4.96 ERA at Triple A, and Severino Gonzalez, who had been working exclusively as a reliever prior to this week. Young pitching prospects Zach Eflin and Jake Thompson, neither of whom is on the 40-man roster, probably require some more seasoning.