Mysterious middle finger injury lands Vince Velasquez on disabled list

Mysterious middle finger injury lands Vince Velasquez on disabled list

Updated: 11:31 p.m.

Vince Velasquez walked into the Phillies’ clubhouse just before 4 p.m. Friday, fresh from a visit to the doctor's office, where he had his wounded right middle finger examined.

Bruising on the finger forced the 25-year-old pitcher to exit Thursday night's game after just one inning.

After Friday's visit to the doctor, Velasquez said the condition of the finger had improved and the pain and swelling had subsided.

But that did not stop the Phillies from placing him on the 10-day disabled list shortly before Friday night's game against the New York Mets. Utility man Ty Kelly was recalled from Triple A to take Velasquez’s roster spot.

Velasquez’s turn in starting pitching rotation comes up again Tuesday in San Diego. Mark Leiter Jr., who has been brilliant in two long relief appearances over the last week — one run, no walks, 16 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings — is a candidate to make that start.

Manager Pete Mackanin said the team decided to place Velasquez on the DL so it could continue to observe the injury. Mackanin could not say whether Velasquez would pitch again this season.

The pitcher is confident he will.

"I'll be back," he said. "I don't think it will be long. I'm optimistic."

Velasquez’s injury remains a bit of a mystery. After Thursday night's game, he described bruising on the entire finger then amended that description and said the bruising was just on the tip. He said he was not hit on the finger, but said it was sore. At one point in speaking with reporters he used the word "blister" but said it was not a blister. The nature/cause of the injury remained a bit of a mystery Friday night as the team announced only that Velasquez had been placed on the disabled list with a right middle finger injury.

"He's got a little blue mark there," Mackanin said.

This is Velasquez’s second trip to the DL this season and third in two seasons with the club. He missed six weeks earlier this season with an elbow strain. Last season, he missed time with a right biceps strain. Prior to that, Velasquez missed time with a couple of injuries, including an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery, during his time in the Houston Astros organization.

The Phillies acquired Velasquez in the December 2015 trade that sent Ken Giles to Houston. In fact, Velasquez was the centerpiece of the Phillies' return. Despite a powerful right arm, he has been plagued by inconsistency and injury during his time with the Phillies.

Velasquez pointed the finger at himself for some of his health issues.

"I’m 25," he said. "I know the ins and outs of what I need to do to take care of my body – physically and mentally. It’s going to take a lot of work. I really didn’t do that well of a preparation from the offseason until now. I think I could have done a better job.

"But on that note – I don’t know – I can’t control all that stuff. What I can control in the offseason is to better my health, eat right, and prepare myself the right way.

"But I think now I just have to sit and wait and be patient and just deal with it. I’m going to keep it under my cap and prepare for next year. I don’t know how long this is going to take or what it might lead to. These are just one of the side effects. It’s taking a toll on me, and it’s tough to not play, especially having a rough year. It’s just tough, dealing with a big injury or the past two injuries. It’s tough. I can’t catch a break, but I have to deal with it."

MLB Notes: Ian Kinsler rips veteran umpire Angel Hernandez

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MLB Notes: Ian Kinsler rips veteran umpire Angel Hernandez

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler had harsh words Tuesday for Angel Hernandez, saying the veteran umpire should get a different job.

A day after being ejected from a game for questioning Hernandez's calls on balls and strikes, Kinsler told reporters covering the Tigers that Hernandez is a bad umpire who is "messing" with games "blatantly."

"It has to do with changing the game. He's changing the game. He needs to find another job, he really does," Kinsler said.

Kinsler's comments were reported online by multiple media outlets just before Detroit played the Texas Rangers and early in the game.

After the Rangers' 10-4 win Tuesday night, when Hernandez worked third base, the umpire said he didn't know about Kinsler's criticism. When told in general what the player said, Hernandez said "it doesn't matter."

"I'm not at liberty to discuss tit-for-tat what's going on. As a matter of fact, I don't even care what he said," Hernandez said. "What I care about is going out there and doing my job, to the best I can do" (see full story).

Marlins: Stanton homers in 6th straight game
MIAMI -- Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has homered in his sixth straight game, hitting his 44th of the season off San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

Stanton connected for a solo shot to left-center field in the third inning Tuesday night, tying the score at 2. The All-Star outfielder has 10 home runs in his last 11 games, and 23 in the last 35.

The major league record for consecutive games with a home run is eight, set by Dale Long of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1956, Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees in 1987 and Ken Griffey Jr. of the Seattle Mariners in 1993.

The last player to go deep in six consecutive games was Colorado's Nolan Arenado, in early September 2015.

Stanton had already broken the Miami record for home runs in a season. He surpassed Gary Sheffield, who hit 42 in 1996.

Going into Tuesday night, Stanton's 22 homers in 34 games had only been exceeded twice in major league history. Sammy Sosa hit 25 during a 34-game stretch in 1998, and Barry Bonds had 24 in 2001, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Reds: Mesoraco out 3-6 weeks with broken foot
CHICAGO -- Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco will be out three to six weeks after he broke a bone in his left foot Monday.

Mesoraco, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday, was hit by a pitch from Chicago Cubs starter Jose Quintana in the second inning of a 15-5 loss at Wrigley Field.

Mesoraco is hitting .213 in 56 games with six homers and 14 RBIs. He was an All-Star in 2014 when he batted .273 with 25 homers and 80 RBIs, but two hip surgeries and a left shoulder operation limited Mesoraco to 39 games with 95 at-bats in 2015 and 2016. In those two seasons, he had a .158 average and no home runs.

The Reds recalled outfielder Phillip Ervin from Triple-A Louisville to fill the roster spot before Tuesday night's game at Chicago.

Phillies can't overcome fielding miscues in loss to Padres

Phillies can't overcome fielding miscues in loss to Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN DIEGO — For the second night in a row, a highly touted Phillies prospect belted his first big-league home run.

Other highlights were difficult to find in an 8-4 loss to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night (see Instant Replay).

The Phillies (43-74) are the worst team in baseball and they looked every bit of it as they were held hitless for the first 4 2/3 innings, had just four hits through the first eight innings, made two errors, misplayed another ball, walked five batters and hit another.

The sloppiness began early as work-in-progress leftfielder Rhys Hoskins, in just his sixth big-league game at the position, misplayed a catchable ball that would have ended the first inning into an RBI double. Starting pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. walked the next batter then surrendered a two-run double as the Padres put three quick ones on the board.

Leiter was tagged for four more runs in the fifth inning, but all were unearned after errors by third baseman Maikel Franco and catcher Jorge Alfaro.

Leiter allowed seven hits, including two homers, three walks (all of them scored) and hit a batter in five innings of work. Still, he may have given up just one run had he gotten some defensive support.

"He wasn't at his best, but our defense let us down," manager Pete Mackanin said.

Leiter would not blame the defense.

"That’s baseball," he said when asked about Hoskins' misplay in the first inning. "You just have to keep going and make the next pitch and get the next guy, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the next guy and it cost us a couple of runs. I have to do better. I have to find a way to get that out."

Hoskins' misplay came on a liner to his left by lefty-hitting Yangervis Solarte.

"That’s a tough play, especially off a left-handed bat," Mackanin said. "He looks sure-handed out there. It was just one of those plays you’ve got to be out there for a while to know how to read. It's understandable."

Alfaro, the rookie catcher, had the Phillies' first hit with two outs in the top of the fifth inning and it was memorable on a couple of fronts.

First, it was his first big-league home run.

Second, he killed it.

The two-run homer came off the bat at 114 miles per hour, making it the hardest-hit homer by a Phillie this season. It traveled 413 feet over the center-field wall and did so on a low line.

"I thought it was going to be a double off the wall," Alfaro said.

"That was a missile," Mackanin said.

"The launch angle wasn't quite high enough," he added with a laugh. "You don’t normally see home runs with that low of a trajectory off the bat. It was cool to see.

"That's why we like him. If you watch him in batting practice, you see the power."

Alfaro's first big-league homer came one night after Hoskins hit his first and second big-league homers. He added a two-run home run in the ninth inning Tuesday night as the Phillies cut into the Padres' lead but could not come all the way back.

The Phillies played without their best hitter, Odubel Herrera. He was out with a sore left hamstring (see story). Padres rookie Dinelson Lamet, who entered his 14th big-league start with an ERA of 5.00, capitalized on a weakened Phillies' lineup and pitched seven innings of three-hit, two-run ball. He walked one and struck out seven.

Rookie reliever Jesen Therrien was the Phillies' most effective pitcher with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts. He showed a tight, hard, downward-breaking slider — a weapon.

"I finally saw that slider we saw in the spring," Mackanin said. "That's very encouraging."