Zach Eflin

Vince Velasquez done for season with blood flow issue — and other Phillies pitching matters

Vince Velasquez done for season with blood flow issue — and other Phillies pitching matters

A busy day for the Phillies on Tuesday — a doubleheader against the Marlins, preceded by a series of pitching moves

Roll call:

Right-hander Vince Velasquez was placed on the 60-day disabled list after tests revealed a blood flow issue in his pitching arm that has caused numbness and bruising in his right middle finger. He will have a surgical procedure this week and is expected to make a full recovery in time for spring training.

Right-hander Zach Eflin was placed on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder soreness.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta was added from Triple A as the 26th man for the doubleheader. He will start the nightcap (see game notes).

Right-handed reliever Yacksel Rios was brought up from Triple A to help in the bullpen.

Right-hander Mark Leiter Jr., who has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen, is back in the rotation and will start on Wednesday.

And finally, right-hander Jake Thompson is expected to come up from Triple A to pitch on Thursday, allowing Jerad Eickhoff, whose fastball velocity has been down a tick, an extra day between starts.

The big news here is Velasquez and his condition. The hard-throwing pitcher came to the Phillies in general manager Matt Klentak's first significant trade and was pegged as a staff building block. However, his two seasons with the Phillies have been plagued by inconsistency and injury. He missed time last year with a biceps strain and again this season with an elbow strain before exiting his start on Aug. 10 with numbness in his right middle finger.

According to Klentak, the discomfort is caused by an issue in the area of Velasquez' armpit, and the pitcher will have a "small procedure that will alleviate the issue," and allow "the blood flow to be normal again to his fingers."

Velasquez, 25, does not have thoracic outlet syndrome, a problem that has affected some pitchers.

The recuperation time for Velasquez will be six to eight weeks and he will continue to work as a starting pitcher in spring training.

"We do still think that Vince possesses all the ingredients to be a top-notch major league starter," Klentak said. "We have to see how the rest of the organization aligns around him. We’ll see what the offseason brings us as far as additional acquisitions are concerned but the hope would be that Vince would still be a starter.

"Every time he pitches we see that big fastball that generates swings and misses at an elite rate particularly when it’s up in the zone. As long as we keep seeing that, we know this guy can be an impact major league pitcher. He’s had his fair share of setbacks throughout the year and throughout his professional career, but we still believe really strongly in his future."

Eflin exited his last start with discomfort behind his right shoulder. It is his second trip to the DL this season. He missed time earlier with an elbow issue. As ominous as two trips to the DL with arm problems sounds, the Phils don't sound overly concerned.

"He’s feeling better every day," Klentak said. "We’re hoping that this will be a minimal DL stint."

Klentak emphasized that Eickhoff is healthy, despite the drop in velocity.

"Definitely healthy and he’s learning to mix pitches and change speeds," Klentak said. "Eickhoff, even throwing a few miles an hour less, when he’s locating and changing speeds is still very effective. So that’s what he’s learning right now."

Klentak said Eickhoff's extra day between starts had nothing to do with health or workload.

"It had a lot to do with coming out of a doubleheader and where we would slot Thompson in," he said. "Thompson’s day is actually (Wednesday) and rather than pushing him back two, or pushing him to Friday, we want to push him back one and push Eick back one. It was kind of cleaner that way."

Phillies place Vince Velasquez on 60-day DL; call up reliever Yacksel Rios

Phillies place Vince Velasquez on 60-day DL; call up reliever Yacksel Rios

The Phillies have made a flurry of moves ahead of Tuesday's doubleheader vs. the Marlins.

Vince Velasquez (finger) is heading to the 60-day disabled list, effectively ending his season. He'll have surgery to repair a vascular issue with his right middle finger, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.

Velasquez left his last start after just one inning on August 10 while surrendering three runs.

In 15 starts, Velasquez compiled a 5.13 ERA, while continuing to struggle with his command. The 25-year-old struck out 68 batters while walking 34 and averaged just 4.8 innings per start. 

In a corresponding move, the Phillies have called up RHP Yacksel Rios from Triple A to replace Velasquez on the 40-man roster. The 24-year-old has a combined 1.92 ERA in 37 games while splitting time between Reading and Lehigh Valley. 

Nick Pivetta was officially recalled from the minors to start Game 2 of today's doubleheader, while Zach Eflin (shoulder) was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday. 

Zach Eflin leaves with sore shoulder as Phillies' California woes continue

Zach Eflin leaves with sore shoulder as Phillies' California woes continue

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The state of California has become the state of despair for the Phillies.

They fell to 0-11 in the state after a 10-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Friday night (see Instant Replay).

The Phils suffered three-game sweeps against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, the Angels in Anaheim and the Padres in San Diego. They have now lost the first two of a four-game series against the Giants in the northern part of the state.

Friday night's defeat was the Phillies' sixth straight, dropping them to a season-high 34 games under .500. They are 19-46 on the road and 6-22 against the National League West.

The loss was embarrassing because the Phils were held to one hit over seven scoreless innings by the pitcher with the highest ERA in the NL. Giants lefty Matt Moore entered with an ERA of 5.71. The Phils finished with just four hits, all singles.

The loss may also have been costly because starting pitcher Zach Eflin, one of the young pitchers the Phillies would like to build around, gave up seven hits and six runs and had to leave the game after five innings with discomfort in the back of his right shoulder. Earlier this season, Eflin, 23, missed time with an elbow strain.

Eflin said he'd felt soreness in the back of this shoulder before.

"This is a little different than I've had before," Eflin said. "It's just kind of a steady tightness. It's something I wasn't comfortable continuing with. I don't think it's anything serious. It's more of a precautionary thing."

The shoulder tightness didn't affect Eflin's velocity. He threw breaking balls early in the game and gave up three runs in the first inning. In the fourth inning, he used his four-seam fastball and hit 96 mph on the radar gun while getting three quick outs. Manager Pete Mackanin said he'd like to see more of that from Eflin. Of course, now it's safe to wonder when Eflin will pitch again. The Phils will surely be careful with him.

The Phillies are already making some adjustments to their starting rotation. Right-hander Ben Lively will be recalled from Triple A to take Odubel Herrera's spot on the roster. Herrera went on the disabled list with a sore left hamstring (see story). Lively will start against the Giants on Sunday while scheduled starter Mark Leiter Jr. goes to the bullpen.

The Phillies were never in Friday night's game. They got three of their four hits and both of their runs (on a bloop hit by Freddy Galvis) in the eighth inning and the Giants came back and scored four in the bottom of the inning.

Rookie catcher Jorge Alfaro had the Phillies' first two hits of the game, the only two that Moore gave up. Moore (4-12) earned his first win since June 20.

In a span of three days, the Phillies have been held to two runs over 16 1/3 innings by a pair of lefties with high ERAs. They were shut out by Clayton Richard in San Diego on Wednesday. He entered that game with a 5.14 ERA.

"It's frustrating when you look up at the numbers and you see that," Mackanin said. "You kind of hope we can get to the guy. But for whatever reason, the bats are just silent right now."

The Phillies' offense has been bad all season, but it has been especially bad lately. Over the last nine games, they have scored just 25 runs, an average of 2.8 per game. The Phils are 1-8 in those contests.