The Philadelphia Phillies have been able to build a lead in the National League East Division over the first six weeks of the 2019 MLB season despite suffering numerous important losses due to injuries. Now the club will have to work through one more, and for the first time the starting pitching rotation is involved.
Right-hander Vince Velasquez was placed on the Injured List today with what has been described as a “right forearm strain” by Corey Seidman at NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Velasquez is in his fourth season with the Phillies since coming from the Houston Astros as the lead piece in a big seven-player deal back on December 12, 2015. The 26-year-old (he turns 27 next month) has gone 20-27 with a 4.57 ERA and 1.368 WHIP over 77 appearances, 75 of those starts, since joining the Phillies.
This season, Velasquez was 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.352 WHIP. He had struck out 32 while walking 15 opposing batters across 32.1 innings over which he had surrendered 26 hits. Velasquez made six starts after coming out of the bullpen in his initial 2019 appearance.
A forearm strain could be anything from mild and minor to a major injury that would cost more than a year. Tampa Bay Rays sensational rookie pitcher Tyler Glasnow just learned that his own forearm strain was minor, but Glasnow will still be missing the next four-to-six weeks.
Per Seidman, the Phillies have brought back lefty reliever Austin Davis from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to bolster the bullpen for now. Davis had been pitching well with the IronPigs, producing a 1.12 ERA while allowing just 10 hits with 19 strikeouts over 16 innings across 11 appearances.
With the Phillies, Davis made one appearance this season back on April 23 in Colorado. He walked three and allowed three hits over two innings that afternoon at Coors Field but managed to keep the Rockies off the scoreboard during a 4-1 loss.
The 26-year-old Davis made his big-league debut a year ago with the Phillies. Over 32 games and 34.2 innings he allowed 35 hits with a 38/12 K:BB.
NBC Sports Philadelphia’s insider Jim Salisbury has reported that prospect Cole Irvin will be promoted to make his big-league debut on Sunday in what would normally have been the next start for Velasquez. However, Tom Housenick of The Morning Call has speculated that Irvin could make his debut on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park. If that should happen, then Aaron Nola likely gets the Sunday nod.
Cole Irvin will pitch for Philllies tomorrow. Big league debut
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) May 11, 2019
A 25-year-old lefty, Irvin was the Phillies fifth round pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of Oregon. He is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA over his first half-dozen starts this season for the IronPigs with a 23/8 K:BB mark over 36 innings, allowing 36 hits.
Nick Pivetta could be recalled early next week to join the rotation. Since being demoted last month following a slow start to the season with the Phillies, Pivetta has gone 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA at Triple-A. The righty has made four starts and dominated the minor league hitters, allowing just 15 hits with a 34/12 K:BB mark.