Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez will undergo surgery to repair a vascular issue with his right middle finger. It’ll end his season.
The issue, according to Pete Mackanin, has been clogging blood flow to Velasquez’s middle finger, causing a numbness he has been experiencing on and off for some time. It’s shown up in his performance as well, helping him to a 2-7 record and a 5.13 ERA in 15 starts this year. The right-hander missed a month and a half earlier this season with a right elbow flexor strain.
Velasquez, the top prospect coming to the Phillies from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade a couple of years back, has shown some fantastic upside at times, but health issues and inconsistency have derailed him of late. The surgery he’s undergoing is not said to be major and he should be ready for spring training. How he fits in the Phillies’ plans going forward, however, is an open question.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.