Phillies Notes: Velasquez Makes Spring Debut, Local Product Impresses
After being traded from the Houston Astros to the Philadelphia Phillies before the start of the 2016 season, it was immediately clear right-hander Vince Velasquez had electric stuff.
Now spending his fourth spring in Clearwater, it’s on Velasquez to become more consistent and win a spot in the Phillies starting rotation. Velasquez is currently competing for a spot at the back of the Phillies rotation, but his inconsistencies have held him back during his first three seasons.
On Monday Velasquez threw 2.0 innings in Clearwater as the Phillies beat Baltimore 8-7. He allowed a hit a walk and registered one strikeout, in his first tune-up game this year.
Manager Joe Girardi said that his goal for Velasquez's improvement started simply with focusing on keeping the ball down, something he was able to do on Monday.
“I was encouraged by what he did,” Girardi told Phillies.com.
— MLB veteran Francisco Liriano, who is on a minor-league deal, threw one inning of work, retiring the side.
The veteran southpaw spent 2019 with the Pirates and posted a respectable 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts across 70 innings of work.
— Veteran Bud Norris, followed Liriano, giving up two hits and a run in one inning of relief work. The veteran right-hander sat out the entire 2019 regular season after suffering a forearm injury at Blue Jays camp last March,
— Local product Zac Warren, a 2014 St. Augustine Prep graduate, and a 14th round (413th overall) pick of the Phillies in the 2017 MLB draft, not only earned the win, but he did so by striking out the side in the ninth.
Ranger Suarez faces the Pirates in Bradenton on Tuesday, he too is vying for a spot in the Phillies rotation.