Phillies Disable Eflin, Velasquez Done for Season
The Phillies made a pair of moves prior to Monday's doubleheader with the Miami Marlins involving starting pitchers. The first is that starting pitcher Zach Eflin, who left his last start with an injury, was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain. Further, starter Vince Velasquez, who experienced some numbness in the middle finger of his pitching hand, will miss the rest of the season. The once deep starting pitching options are now greatly minimized.
Eflin began the 2017 season on the disabled list and made eight starts prior to a demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. While at Lehigh Valley, Efllin spent time on the disabled list there, too. Eflin was recalled August 8 and made three starts prior to the injury. In his 11 total starts for the Phillies in 2017, Eflin is 1-5 with a 6.16 earned run average.
Velasquez was moved from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list, opening a roster spot. Velasquez was an underwhelming 2-7 with a 5.13 earned run average for the Phillies in 15 starts. This is Velasquez's second disabled list stint of the season. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak told reporters, including Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, that the Phillies "remain committed" to Velasquez in a starter in 2018.
Of course, the Phillies would not announce any major changes via an announcement at this time. But the Phillies had really hoped to find out just who Velasquez is in 2017 and may have not gotten an answer. What Velasquez's role in 2018 is could ultimately depend on how the roster is constructed in the offseason.
The 60-day disabled list stint means that the Phillies had an open 25-man roster spot and a 40-man roster spot. The Phillies filled both with reliever Yacksel Rios. Rios is a reliever who has come up through the Phillies system after being drafted in the 12th round of 2011 MLB draft. Rios is from Dra Conchita Cuevas High School in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. Rios will fill a relief role.
Rios has had an up and down career in the Phillies system but has had a strong 2017 season for the Double-A Reading Fightin' Phils and the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Combined in 37 games, Rios is 1-3 with a 1.97 earned run average. Rios has struck out 64 in 53 1/3 innings.
Additionally, the Phillies have announced that they will start Mark Leiter Jr. on Wednesday and unofficially that Jake Thompson will start on Thursday. The Phillies will have to make a roster move before adding Thompson. They will also have to make a roster move to add Nick Pivetta back into the rotation after starting game two of Tuesday's doubleheader as the 26th man.
Pivetta could start Saturday or Sunday, depending when the Phillies pitch Aaron Nola, the first starter in the doubleheader. Ben Lively is still on the Phillies roster, though it is unclear when he might start again.