Vince Velasquez had a ridiculous afternoon

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Some of you may not know who Vincent Velasquez is. If you don’t, know that he is a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Know that he’s 23 and that he was a second round pick of the Astros in 2010. Know that last year was his rookie season with Houston and he was nothing remarkable in 19 games of swingman work, but that he has a mid-90’s fastball and upside as a top-of-the-rotation starter or, depending on how his secondary stuff develops, a top bullpen arm one day.

Know also that Velasquez was the centerpiece of the Ken Giles trade to Houston. And know that Giles got blown up for the Astros last night and had a rough spring to boot.

And know that today Velasquez just eviscerated the San Diego Padres. He went the distance, striking out 16 batters, didn’t walk anyone and allowed only three hits in tossing a shutout. Not just a __ shutout innings thing, a real, bonafide, now rare big boy shutout. He needed 113 pitches to do it. He even got a hit, which is the first of his career. The Phillies won 3-0. Here’s a video of one of his strikeouts. Here’s a video of another.

Phillies fans already knew him. Astros fans already knew him and, after Giles’ early struggles, were probably already missing him dearly before this afternoon. Just imagine how they feel now.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.