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."