The Phillies held on to secure a nail-biting win over the Brewers last night, and they did so largely on the strength of a strong outing from enigmatic righty Vince Velasquez. The 28-year-old righty has been in and out of the rotation over the past several years, but Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia suggests that he’s put himself in line for another look after his recent stretch. The Phils haven’t gotten much out of their offseason investment in Matt Moore, and at least for the time being, Velasquez has pitched well enough that it’d be hard to justify putting him back in the ’pen even now that Moore is back from the IL. Manager Joe Girardi has yet to confirm who’ll take the ball when the fifth spot in the rotation comes up again this weekend, but if he wants to ride the hot hand, Velasquez has a 3.24 ERA and 19-to-8 K/BB ratio in his past 16 2/3 frames.
More on the Phils…
- Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper is dealing with a left wrist problem, though manager Joe Girardi doesn’t expect him to go on the injured list, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com tweets. The issue cropped up last week, causing Harper to sit out the Phillies’ games on Friday and Saturday. Harper returned to their lineup Sunday, but he re-aggravated the injury then, and he wasn’t in Monday’s lineup as a result. The hope is that he’ll return in the next couple of days. The Phillies have used a combination of Matt Joyce, Roman Quinn and Odubel Herrera in right when Harper as been unavailable, but their numbers have left plenty to be desired. Harper, on the other hand, has slashed a tremendous .317/.446/.598 with six home runs and three stolen bases over 101 plate appearances.
- Second baseman Jean Segura and utilityman Ronald Torreyes will embark on rehab assignments this week, tweets Matt Gelb of The Athletic. The Phillies have gone without Segura since he went on the 10-day IL with a strained right quad April 21, while Torreyes landed on the Covid IL on April 19. Rookie Nick Maton has emerged at the keystone during Segura’s absence with an impressive .327/.365/.429 showing in his first 52 major league trips to the plate. To keep Maton’s bat in the lineup when Segura returns, the Phillies could give him an opportunity in center field, Girardi said. Phillies center fielders — Quinn, Herrera, Adam Haseley (who’s away from the team for personal reasons) and Mickey Moniak — have combined for an astonishingly poor .105/.190/.189 line through 105 plate appearances in 2021.
- More from Gelb, who reports in a full column that the Phillies removed Rafael Chaves as their director of pitching development in March and promoted Travis Hergert on an interim basis. Chaves remains with the organization, but his new role isn’t clear. Hergert has just one year of experience as a professional coach, having joined the Phillies prior to 2020 after a stint at North Iowa Area Community College. Hergert is a major advocate of Driveline Baseball’s training programs, according to Gelb, who reports that not everyone in the Phillies’ player development ranks is on board. Nevertheless, the Phillies are hopeful Hergert and pitching coach Caleb Cotham will work well together with a data-driven approach.