PHILS INSIDER

Velasquez' spot in Phillies' rotation uncertain as old problem flares again

PHILS INSIDER

Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez said he's "not worried at all," about the numbness that he's once again feeling in the fingers on his pitching hand. The right-hander had a surgical procedure to address the issue in 2017 and was scratched from his scheduled start moments before Thursday night's game with a recurrence of the problem.

Velasquez went on to say that he has "full confidence that he'll be completely fine," and be able to take his turn in the rotation when it comes up again.

Manager Joe Girardi did not share Velasquez' confidence.

"I can't tell you exactly what it means right now, but it's something that we're concerned about," he said.

Expect Velasquez to go through a battery of tests in the coming days.

If he can't make his next start, which lines up to be Tuesday in Miami against the same Marlins team that manhandled the Phillies, 6-0, on Thursday night, Matt Moore could slide back into the rotation or Spencer Howard could be added from Triple A.

In September 2017, Velasquez had surgery on his right middle finger. He did not pitch after August 10 of that season due to numbness in the finger.

"It was like a little bypass," said Velasquez, describing the surgery. "They took a little blood clot out, tried to create some freedom, some blood flow, throughout the arm. It's very shocking. It's normally the middle finger, but now it's the index finger."

Velasquez said he felt a little numbness in his middle finger over the weekend when the Phillies were in Dunedin, Florida. It dissipated quickly, he said. He felt fine playing catch on Wednesday but felt it in his index finger as he loosened up before Thursday night's game. 

 

"I wanted to throw today and help the team win this series, but it was very hard for me to even grip the ball," he said.

David Hale ended up making the emergency start when Velasquez was scratched.

"I ran out and told Hale to get ready," said Girardi, who learned of Velasquez' problem 25 minutes before game time. "We went and talked to Vinny and it wasn't right."

Velasquez, who turns 29 in June, had been enjoying the best streak of success in his inconsistent career before being scratched Thursday night. In five starts this season, he had a 2.84 ERA.

Velasquez maintained that his inability to pitch Thursday night was "just a little speed bump."

Time will tell how little.

"I'm not worried about it," Velasquez said. "I'm not going to lose a finger or anything like that."

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