In a surprise move, the Phillies placed Vince Velasquez on the 10-day injured list Saturday with a right forearm strain.
The injury could soon open the door for Nick Pivetta’s return to the majors, but more immediately, left-hander Cole Irvin will replace Velasquez on Sunday against the Royals. It will be Irvin's major-league debut after a dominant run at Triple A.
Since the start of last season, Irvin is 16-4 with a 2.51 ERA for the IronPigs despite a low rate of strikeouts.
Pivetta, meanwhile, has found a groove at Triple A Lehigh Valley, pitching to a 2.84 ERA over his last three starts with 25 strikeouts in 19 innings and a .156 opponents’ batting average.
Velasquez was fighting to keep his rotation spot. He has struggled of late. He had a 1.99 ERA in his first four starts but allowed 18 base runners, four home runs and eight runs in 7⅔ innings over his last two starts. The same old issues popped back up — poor fastball command, a deliberate pace, and in his most recent start a game-calling conflict with catcher J.T. Realmuto.
In exactly 75 starts as a Phillie, Velasquez has a 4.57 ERA and the highest home run rate (1.4 per nine innings) among any Phillies pitcher who’s ever made that many starts.
The Phillies called up left-handed reliever Austin Davis to replace Velasquez on the active roster. Pivetta last pitched on May 9 so he wouldn’t be on regular rest until Tuesday.
In another Phillies-related roster move, the Giants claimed outfielder Aaron Altherr off waivers. They've held interest in him for a little while and have one of the worst outfield situations in the majors. Altherr should have more of a role there than he did here.
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