Phillies right-hander Vincent Velasquez and his agent, Scott Boras, have talked about an innings limit for this season, the 24-year-old told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. “The agents and I discussed it a little bit, but I don’t know the definite answer, an exact amount of innings. I don’t know, I’d want to say roughly like maybe 150 or something, maybe 160 tops,” said Velasquez, who has been on the disabled list since June 9 with a strained right biceps. “I would say, philosophically, we’re probably in the same ballpark,” stated team president Andy MacPhail. Velasquez has never racked up more than 124 2/3 innings in a season, as Zolecki notes, and was up to 61 2/3 frames this year before landing on the DL. The hard-throwing Velasquez recorded a 3.65 ERA, 10.65 K/9 and 3.21 BB/9 over that 12-start span, further establishing himself as one of baseball’s most exciting young starters, so it’s no surprise that both Boras and the rebuilding Phillies want to protect the ex-Astro.
Here’s more from MLB’s two East divisions:
- With Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan nearing a return from a neck strain and the out-of-options Sandy Leon swinging a red-hot bat, 25-year-old backstop Christian Vazquez’s playing time and-or roster spot could soon be in jeopardy, per Scott Lauber of ESPN.com. Vazquez has graded well as a pitch framer this year and has caught a solid 7 of 18 would-be base stealers, but he has offset his terrific defense with an anemic .215/.255/.302 batting line and one home run in 157 plate appearances. That adds up to a 41 wRC+, the third-worst mark among catchers with at least 150 PAs.
- Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda has rebounded from a nightmarish two-month start to put up sterling numbers in June, with a 3.00 ERA, 37 strikeouts and five walks in 30 innings, and could be pitching his way into the team’s long-term plans, opines Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. That’s not a decision the Yankees will have to make immediately, though, as Pineda isn’t scheduled to become a free agent until the end of the 2017 season. Since recovering from a torn labrum and debuting with the Yankees in 2014, the former Mariner has amassed 320 1/3 innings of 4.08 ERA ball to accompany an excellent 6.45 K/BB ratio and a respectable 45 percent ground-ball rate. Similar production going forward should lead to an appreciable raise for the 27-year-old, who’s making $4.3MM this season.
- “Mental confusion” is what caused the Mets to demote left fielder Michael Conforto to Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday, manager Terry Collins told reporters, including Adam Rubin of ESPN.com (video link). “I just want him to go get some confidence and get back here,” continued Collins. After hitting a videogamelike .365/.442/.676 in 86 April PAs, Conforto, 23, has since collected just 21 hits (six fewer than his April total) in 157 trips to the plate.