The Pirates announced today that right-hander Vince Velasquez has been placed on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation. His roster spot will go to fellow righty Chase De Jong, who has been reinstated from his own IL stint, which was due to a lumbar spine muscle sprain. Additionally, infielder Drew Maggi cleared waivers and was outrighted to Double-A Altoona. The club’s 40-man roster count is now down to 39.
Velasquez was removed from yesterday’s game after throwing just 54 pitches in three innings. During the broadcast, he could be seen grabbing at his throwing elbow, video courtesy Justice delos Santos of MLB.com. After the game, he spoke to Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and didn’t seem especially worried. “I’m pretty optimistic about it,” Velasquez said. “I’ve been in situations like this before. I’m glad I stopped when I needed to. If I would’ve kept going it probably would’ve been more severe. I just have to be optimistic and then go from there.”
Despite that lack of concern, it seems the club will give him a chance to rest up, either out of an abundance of caution or because testing revealed a bit more severity than he expected. It’s still unclear what kind of absence the club is forecasting but they will proceed without Velasquez for at least a couple of weeks.
Velasquez has long been an intriguing pitcher with some strong strikeout numbers at times but he’s been fairly inconsistent and also had trouble with the long ball. For his career, he has a 4.84 ERA with a 25% strikeout rate, allowing home runs on 14.2% of fly balls. Signed by the Pirates to a one-year, $3.15MM deal this offseason, he’s had a good start to his 2023 with a 3.06 ERA after seven starts. There might be a bit of good luck in there, however, as his .250 batting average on balls in play and 82.4% strand rate are both on the fortunate side of average. His 4.10 FIP and 4.51 SIERA suggest he’s actually been closer to his norm than he might appear on first blush.
For as long as he’s out of action, the Bucs will likely need to find a fifth starter to join Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras, Rich Hill and Johan Oviedo. They have a few off-days later in the month that will lessen the need, but they’ll likely need at least a spot starter or a bullpen game to get them through to their next day off on May 11.
Luis Ortiz would be one option, as he’s on the 40-man roster and already made his major league debut last year. He has a 2.45 ERA through six Triple-A starts so far this year and is scheduled to start for Indianapolis tonight. The Bucs also now have an open 40-man spot and could turn to a non-roster option. Quinn Priester is one of their top prospects but he has a 5.96 ERA through his own six-start opening to the year for Indianapolis. He also started yesterday and won’t be an option for a few days.
The open roster spot comes via Maggi’s outright. The infielder became a feel-good story recently when the Pirates selected him a couple weeks ago. He had spent over a decade toiling away in the minors, having made his professional debut in Low-A back in 2010. He was with the Pirates at that time but subsequently bounced to the systems of the Angels, Dodgers, Cleveland, Twins and Phillies before finally making his MLB debut this year, just shy of his 34th birthday. He got into three games before being optioned to the minors last week.
Maggi actually has a previous outright in his career, as he was briefly on the Twins’ 40-man roster in 2021. That gives him the right to reject this assignment and elect free agency, though it’s not clear if he’s chosen to exercise that right or not.
Goku the Knowledgable One
time to sign MadBum
tend to agree but Ortiz is probably a better plan if Vince is truly 15day.
Not sure if it is time to go with Ortiz longer term but would be nice to see a hand full more innings at the MLB level for a clearer picture and don’t need a roster spot for him.
If it could be 60day + maybe Madison or really any other free agent who can eat 5 innings every 5 days even if it isn’t the prettiest
Goku the Knowledgable One
agreed would like to see Ortiz get more looks, but if Vince is out for season then should look into a vet in general, given Quin Priesters untimely struggles.
obviously the free agent market is bleak tho, Bumgarner unlikely to come to Pittsburgh but maybe their record would attract him.
as unlikely as MadBum to Pitt would be, it’s far more likely than unfathomable options like Chris Archers return or Trevor Bauer flying in from the other side of the planet.
maybe a realistic name to keep an eye on is Mike Minor
.. he’s always been a guy capable of filling that 5th starter role with mixed results
Oh no. Minor is about right on par with Dallas Keuchel at this point. Not many scoreless innings left in the tank for either one. They don’t eat innings – the innings eat them.
No to the Bum! Ortiz should get a few starts and reevaluate the situation by Memorial Day. Gives them a chance to see him in 3 starts and what he can handle at the big league level. He’s pitching well in AAA and 3 starts is a cup of coffee for him and the coaching staff.
MadBum would be no different than David Price, Trevor Bauer, Annibal Sanchez, or even Garret Richards who are also Free Agents. MadBum is on a decline like the ones above. What I’d do is sign a few of the above to minor contracts and have depth options over the next few months
@PiratesFan This would be Luis’s second cup. His first cup was pretty not bad up until he gave up a bunch of runs in an inning
If it is longer than 15 days, i would seriously consider getting one of those guys on your list on a small mlb contract with a performance bonus and option on a small buy out.. Just because if they play closer to good than bad, try to milk that last bit of not bad out of them. lol.
I wouldn’t put Trevor on that list on the decline.. he’s still looking good baseball wise. He is “just” untouchable at this point because of all the reasons we all know about..
@joew some get “it” on the first try, others don’t and takes a second or third try. Mitch Keller had 3 attempts before sticking. Ortiz deserves a shot again and doing very well in AAA.
MadBum, Price, Sanchez, Bauer, and Richards will take a month to get MLB ready. Signing them immediately, won’t get them on the club right away. Sign a few of them to minors, work Ortiz at the MLB level. If he fails, you can call up one of the signees
Oh yeah, i think i came off like Ortiz won’t make it. Quite the opposite. I think he’ll be fine. I was getting at is he was good last time up just that one inning in his short sample really blew up his mlb stats so not much of a worry.
I do not think a month for Madison since he has pitched already this year.. i don’t know about the others.
Trevor Bauer is Currently Pitching in Japan and won’t be coming back to the MLB this year at least… if ever.
MadBum? They’re not *that* desperate.
Goku the Knowledgable One
we’re talking about the team that signed Rich Hill
Damn! Vinny Velo was having a resurgence. This stinks. One of my favorite players despite never putting it all together on the Phils.
Agreed, I also thought he would finally breakout with the Phillies but never did.
I don’t like this post.
Now that deadbeat Maggi can get himself a real job! SMH
What an unwarranted comment.
I’m sure your MLB career went much better than his, right? How about just be happy for the guy? His dreams came true.
Life was more fun before people took jokes literally.
How is one to know, the OP didn’t put an lol or winky face at the end to signify he was joking…lol…;)
I didn’t take it seriously but it wasn’t a funny and wasn’t particularly in good taste either. Life would be more fun if people were better at telling jokes.
Well, I was going to tell you a joke about a boxer but I forgot the punch line.
The classics always hold up. Well done, rememberthecoop.
s/ indicates sarcasm, perhaps despicable wasn’t joking
Why? If I understand the rules he gets 500k even in minors now, so why not finish the year?
I guess the open spot means they r going off the 40 for Velasquez replacement
they should have sent Marcano back to Indy. Whatever hot start he had at Indy, he’s cooled off considerably and needs to be taught to protect the strike zone regardless if he thinks the pitch is either too high, too close or too outside
Striking out looking more than once in a single game suggests he’s clueless. He hasn’t impressed me period
And yes yesterday’s umpire had a weird strike zone but still protecting a pitch is essential
i would like to see BC try to trade for a starter. I know it’s very early and very unlikely but maybe try to flip one of the AAA outfielders for an innings eater.
I would like to see Haines get fired. This team can’t hit pitchers with ERAS above 5.00, tonight’s pitcher included
The 3rd base coach isn’t worth it either
Now Maggi can tell stories about his “21 days in the show”, on bus rides.
Gift of the Magi.
Vinny Velo is a true urban myth type….He has the stuff of legend, he’s an ambidextrous thrower……Supposedly good hitter…
His stuff plays better in the pen, but – I am NOT a reliever – and he fails.
Put me in the rotation….
As a Phillies fan, will always root for him….Just seems he’s a few sandwiches short…..
Enigma guys are always easy to like I guess…Hope he gets to his 10yr….
Vince was looking great. Was on track for a nice payday.
And the Pirates broadcasters are equally as horrible as the offense
They have a tendency of claiming how selective the batters are all the while the batters strike out on pitches outside the strike zone
Neil Walker’s assertion that Hill had the correct batter at the plate when 3rd base was stolen only to see Varsho hit a double
Maggi can say he hit .333 while in the Majors and got more hits than K’s
Its time to release Andujar, he’s 0 for his last 21 and Suwinski needs to learn how to protect the plate
He strikes out more on called 3rd strikes than any other player in baseball
I imagine Big Sexy could be ready in a moments notice……..