victor arano

Zach Eflin believes he'll miss just 1 start; Victor Arano down for 3 months

Zach Eflin believes he'll miss just 1 start; Victor Arano down for 3 months

LOS ANGELES — Zach Eflin was placed on the injured list Friday, but he does not expect to be there long.

The right-hander experienced back stiffness upon waking Wednesday morning. He also experienced some back spasms. Though he was feeling better Friday, he was not 100 percent. So the team scratched him from his scheduled start against the Dodgers on Saturday and placed him on the 10-day IL. The assignment is backdated three days so he could be back next Friday night in Philadelphia to face the Cincinnati Reds.

“I haven’t heard the schedule, but I only plan on missing one start,” Eflin said.

Lefty Cole Irvin was added from Triple A to take Eflin’s roster spot. He lines up to make Saturday night’s start, though manager Gabe Kapler did not immediately commit to that. Kapler said he wanted to see how things went with the bullpen Friday night before he named his Saturday night starter. Vince Velasquez was available out of the bullpen Friday night. There was an outside chance he could make Saturday night’s start, depending on what happened Friday night.

Eflin had no worries that his back injury was serious. He said it was already responding to treatment and he was able to play catch on Friday.

“I just slept in a weird position and it kind of pinched something back there between my ribs and my hip bone or something,” Eflin said. “I’m looking forward to it going away.”

In other injury news, reliever Victor Arano visited with teammates before Friday night’s game. He had arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow earlier this week. Arano said he would be down for three months so his season could be over.

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Vince Velasquez feels great, but Victor Arano needs a second opinion

Vince Velasquez feels great, but Victor Arano needs a second opinion

CHICAGO — Vince Velasquez’s elbow is feeling better.

Victor Arano’s is not.

Let’s start with Arano:

One of the Phillies’ top relievers last season, Arano has had a difficult 2019. He struggled badly in spring training and opened the season with a quick trip to the minors. Most recently, he has been plagued by a sore right elbow.

Even after a month on the injured list, Arano is still feeling discomfort in the elbow. The team will send him to Los Angeles next Monday to be examined by noted orthopedist Neal ElAttrache.

“Victor came out of his last bullpen not feeling great so we’re going to get him a second opinion,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I’m concerned because he’s concerned. Any time that our pitchers have concerns, I’m going to be concerned right along with them.”

Could it be that Arano is on his way to Tommy John surgery?

“That doesn't feel like the concern right now,” Kapler said. “That’s not what we’re thinking. But to have him go get examined because he has a little bit of swelling and discomfort feels like the right play.”

As for Velasquez: He played long toss up to 120 feet on Monday and later said he felt completely healthy. The right-hander went on the injured list nine days ago with soreness in his elbow.

“No pain,” Velasquez said. “I’m 100 percent.”

“He’s good,” Kapler confirmed. “There are no long-term concerns.”

Velasquez is scheduled to throw in the bullpen on Wednesday.

At some point in the near future, the Phils are going to have to make a decision on Velasquez. He is out of minor-league options. Once he’s activated, he will have to go back in the starting rotation or be used out of the bullpen. Velasquez wants to remain a starter, but his replacement, lefty Cole Irvin, has authored two quality starts (and victories) since being called up. Irvin pitches Wednesday night against the Cubs and Cole Hamels.

Also of note, outfielder Roman Quinn, on the IL with a strained groin, has progressed to the point where he’s probably just a week away from playing in minor-league games.

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Victor Arano finds his slider as Phillies come home from Miami with a series win

Victor Arano finds his slider as Phillies come home from Miami with a series win

MIAMI — The last time Victor Arano was in Florida, he couldn’t get anybody out.

This time …

Different story.

Arano was one of many pitching stars in the Phillies’ marathon win over the Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon. The Phils prevailed, 3-1, on the strength of Jean Segura’s two-run home run in the top of the 14th inning (see observations). They are 9-5.

While Segura’s first homer with his new club put the Phillies over the top, it was the work of the pitching staff that gave the team life and saved it from the ignominy of losing a series to the lowly Marlins on a day when the offense sputtered.

“I really think pitching is the story today,” manager Gabe Kapler said after the game. “We came out and really threw the ball well.”

Fourteen innings. One run. Yeah, very well.

Vince Velasquez — six innings, one run — had his second straight positive start and the bullpen came through with eight scoreless innings. David Robertson and Arano both pitched two scoreless frames. Arano struck out all six batters he faced in the 12th and 13th innings and got the win after Andrew McCutchen preceded Segura’s homer with a triple.

“Arano was kind of the star of the show,” Kapler said. “Him giving us some length right there was huge.”

Arano got burned badly the last time he was in the Sunshine State. That was during spring training. Unable to find his slider, he was tagged for an ungodly 17 hits and 20 runs in just four innings of work. Arano pitched well for the Phillies last season (2.73 ERA in 60 games) and club officials wanted to keep him on the roster. But given the way he pitched in spring training, there was no way they could. He was sent to Triple A in the final week of camp to try to find the slider that made him so effective last season.

Arano found the pitch quickly. He pitched four scoreless innings at Triple A and struck out seven. He was recalled before Friday night’s game against the Marlins and, similarly, racked up four scoreless innings and seven strikeouts in the series.

Catcher Andrew Knapp described Arano’s slider as electric after Sunday’s win.

“I think he threw maybe three fastballs,” Knapp said. “The slider was dropping off the table.”

Arano could not argue with the Phillies’ decision to send him to Triple A at the end of spring training.

“I knew I needed to get my slider back to where it was last year,” he said through translator Diego Ettedgui. “That was my main focus.”

He said he was able to figure out that he needed to strengthen his grip a little on his slider, add a little finger pressure. He also watched video and determined that his front shoulder was flying open. With the help of Lehigh Valley pitching coach Steve Schrenk, Arano made the adjustments and — welcome back, slider.

If Arano can continue his effectiveness, it will be huge for this team. Ditto, Velasquez. He gave up just two hits and a run over six innings, walked three and struck out four. He did not allow a hit until Brian Anderson’s homer on a first-pitch fastball in the sixth. He was economical with his pitches, throwing 81.

In two starts, Velasquez has given up just six hits and three runs in 11 innings.

“Vince came out and attacked the strike zone really well,” Kapler said.

The offense has been inconsistent lately. It was held to three hits and a run in Wednesday night’s loss to Washington. It scored nine runs in Friday night’s win over the Marlins then didn’t score until the ninth inning in Saturday night’s 10-3 loss. On Sunday, the Phils got on the board with a Cesar Hernandez homer in the fourth inning then went nine innings without a run.

Good thing the pitching showed up.

The offense will need to pick it up because the tests get tougher this week, first with the Mets coming to town for three games starting Monday night. The Phils are 50-82 against the Mets over the last seven seasons.

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