Phillies starter Vincent Velasquez is expected to return on Monday to start against the Diamondbacks, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb reported last week. The right-hander has been on the disabled list since June 10 with a right biceps strain.
“The agents and I discussed it a little bit, but I don’t know the definite answer, an exact amount of innings,” Velasquez said. “I don’t know, I’d want to say roughly like maybe 150 or something, maybe 160 tops. If there was a possible chance of being in a playoff run or something, I would love to help the guys out in relief because I’ve done that in the past.”
“He was really on my butt about this injury thing,” Velasquez said. “I mean, any injury you’ve got to take it very seriously. He was really strict on it. … We’re all on the same page. I filled in everybody about what was going on. They’re aware of my bullpens and how many throws I was doing.”
The Mets — as well as fans and the local media — protested an innings limit on Harvey last year upon his return from Tommy John surgery. However, the Mets were very much in contention, which is why they used him for 189 1/3 innings in the regular season and 26 2/3 in the playoffs. Fernandez’s innings will be limited this year as well, as noted over the winter. The Marlins are in the thick of things at 40-35, three games out of first place.
The Phillies, though, don’t have to worry about that. They enter Sunday 32-44 and don’t figure to get noticeably better even if they were to call up top prospects J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, and Jake Thompson later this summer. Velasquez has never thrown more than 124 2/3 innings in a single year of professional baseball. It would behoove the Phillies to play it very conservatively with Velasquez. Team president Andy MacPhail said, “I know it’s obviously on our radar as well. I would say, philosophically, we’re probably in the same ballpark.”