Padres add Vince Velasquez for rotation help

September 16th, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- In dire need of rotation help amid a spate of recent injuries, the Padres signed right-hander to a Minor League deal on Wednesday.

Velasquez, who was released by the Phillies earlier this week, is expected to start for San Diego against the Cardinals on Friday. Left-hander Blake Snell, who was initially scheduled to start that series opener in St. Louis, was placed on the injured list in an expected move with a left adductor strain.

In 21 appearances for Philadelphia this season, Velasquez owns a 5.95 ERA. He spent six seasons in Philadelphia, during which he tantalized at times -- including a memorable 16-strikeout game against the Padres in 2016. But he never quite put it all together, posting a 4.88 career ERA.

“Knowing the opportunity at hand, that they're down a couple starters, I have three weeks left to help them in a push, in a [playoff] run,” Velasquez said. “I know what I'm capable of doing. I know that it hasn't probably been the strongest year on my behalf. But I think a new scenery, a new team ... will help.”

Having signed after the start of September, Velasquez wouldn’t be eligible to make the Padres’ postseason roster. But that’s a concern for another day. The Padres are simply trying to get to the postseason in the first place, and they’re trying to do so with a rotation that is suddenly quite thin.

Snell exited his most recent start against the Dodgers on Sunday after just 11 pitches, though the team is hopeful he’ll be able to return to face the Giants at Petco Park next week after his minimum 10-day IL stint. Meanwhile, right-hander Chris Paddack is also on the IL with right elbow inflammation, and while there was some optimism he could return next week, too, his status remains uncertain.

Those injuries prompted the Padres to give Velasquez a call, and now it appears likely that they’ll thrust him into one of the franchise’s biggest regular-season series in recent memory.

“It's unfortunate that they lost two of their starters,” Velasquez said. “But I've got a lot left in the tank. I'm here to demonstrate what I'm capable of doing and help them out.”