Phillies shut down Vince Velasquez

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The Phillies have decided to shut starter Vince Velasquez down for the remainder of the season,’s Todd Zolecki reports. Velasquez started on Saturday night against the Braves, giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits and no walks with eight strikeouts in seven innings.

Velasquez, 24, hadn’t pitched more than 124 2/3 innings in a full season at the professional level. His seven innings Saturday put him at 131 for the 2016 season. The Phillies have been collaborating with the right-hander’s agent Scott Boras, monitoring his workload throughout the season.

Velasquez ends his season with an 8-6 record, a 4.12 ERA, and a 152/45 K/BB ratio. He was one of several players the Phillies received from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade this past winter. While Velasquez made headlines with a dominating 16-strikeout shutout of the Padres on April 14, he battled inefficiency, reaching the seventh inning only three times in 24 starts. He also failed to reach the sixth inning in 11 starts. Some believe Velasquez profiles better as a reliever going forward.

New catcher A.J. Ellis, acquired from the Dodgers earlier this month for Carlos Ruiz, gave Velasquez a homework assignment for the remainder of the season. Ellis told Velasquez to watch Zack Greinke‘s starts with the Dodgers. Ellis sees similarities between Velasquez and Greinke, as both utilize fastballs and power changeups.

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.