Phillies righty Vincent Velasquez was pulled from his start today after just two pitches — neither of which clocked in over 87 mph, per Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links). That’s an ominous sign for Velasquez, who just turned 24 yesterday. He has shown both immense promise and some inconsistency, but overall has looked like an important piece of the organization’s future by throwing 61 1/3 innings of 3.67 ERA ball with 10.7 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9. The team is calling it right biceps soreness for now, as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki tweets, but that doesn’t necessarily reduce any concern. It’s too early for a full assessment, of course, but the fact that the former Tommy John patient has a problem in the elbow area is troubling.
Here’s some other news form the National League:
- The Marlins are “pessimistic” about their chances of inking ace Jose Fernandez to a long-term pact, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. He has been at peak form since returning from his Tommy John surgery, especially of late, and the club appears to think he wouldn’t bite at the $25MM AAV put on future free agent seasons in Stephen Strasburg’s recent extension.
- Superstar Giants catcher Buster Posey is dealing with an irritate nerve in his right thumb, but he suggests it’s an injury that can be managed (video link via KNBR). Posey, 29, is hitting well below his career rate over his first 212 plate appearances, though he’s still humming along at a productive /.257/.316/.450 clip.
- Cardinals infielder Jhonny Peralta sees his move to third base as more than just a temporary switch, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Soon to turn 34, Peralta says that he could find a home at the hot corner. “I know I am getting older and you have Diaz being younger,” he said, “so third base might be my future. I have a future there. Hopefully, I’ll play it as well as I need to play it. It could be my fit.” As Goold notes, the front-loaded structure of Peralta’s contract leaves the team on the hook for just $10MM next year. Peralta will hit the open market again thereafter. He has maintained his offensive production since signing with St. Louis, posting a .269/.336/.429 batting line over 1,272 plate appearances.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington says that the organization has seen some promising signs from veteran righty Justin Masterson, MLB.com’s Adam Berry reports, though there’s still work to be done. “You still see the life in the fastball,” said Huntington, “but it’s not the mid-90s power-sink that Justin had when he was so successful. We’re still working to get him back … to get the mechanics to where he’s comfortable with them and build the arm strength. We’re still in that phase.”