Velasquez flashes velocity in return from DL

July 19th, 2017

MIAMI -- Back on the same mound he sustained a right elbow flexor strain two months ago, Vince Velasquez made a statement in the Phillies' 5-2 win over the Marlins on Tuesday night at Marlins Park.

Velasquez, who was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list before the start, tossed six strong innings in a no-decision. He let up two runs (one earned) on four hits and struck out four with one walk before leaving a tie game.

"I felt really good. Right from the get-go, just pretty much pitching to contact and trying to get early outs," Velasquez said. "Just trying to pick back up right where I left off and try to move on forward."

Velasquez's season came to an abrupt halt in Miami on May 30. He exited that outing against the Marlins after just 1 1/3 innings, and there was a noticeable decline in his velocity.

But on Tuesday night, the radar gun routinely flashed 95 and 96 mph. Velasquez threw 15 of his 79 pitches at 95 mph or higher, four of which touched 96.

The velocity, not the stat line, was what encouraged Phillies manager Pete Mackanin the most. Clearly, Velasquez's arm is healthy.

"Yeah, that first pitch of the game was 91, and I didn't like it," Mackanin said. "And then 92, 94. He maintained his velocity throughout the six innings. It was good to see that his arm's fine. That's why I didn't want to send him back out even though he had, what'd he have, 80 pitches?"

Velasquez endured speed bumps in his return, however.

There was the 2-1 fastball launched over the left-field wall in the first inning. And to begin the third, Velasquez threw a ball down the first-base line on JT Riddle's swinging bunt. Riddle then scored on a passed ball.

"That's baseball. You can't let that bring you down," Velasquez said. "That's part of the game, and the whole point is who's next? That's the guy you've gotta get next."

But Velasquez certainly regrouped, like when he got the best of Stanton in his next two at-bats after the homer.

In the third, Velasquez blew away the slugger with a 95.7-mph fastball. Three innings later, he induced a groundout of Stanton on a curveball.

"One of the impressive things about him is when he made that mistake throwing the ball down the right-field line, he regrouped and didn't lose his composure," Mackanin said. "He settled down and pitched well."