The Phillies have sent promising young right-hander Vincent Velasquez to Double-A Reading to begin a rehab assignment.
This is great news for the organization and its fans, who all seemed to fear the worst when Velasquez exited a start after just two pitches. He was diagnosed with a strained right biceps in his pitching arm and placed on the 15 day disabled list back on June 9.
He will face the Akron RubberDucks in his rehab start Wednesday, who have the best record in the Eastern League Western Conference. The Reading Fightin’ Phils have the best record in the league with a 49-21 record, good for a .700 winning percentage.
“It was something very minor,” Velasquez told MLB.com Phillies reporter Todd Zolecki when discussing his injury. “It’s something that was tugging. I had a solid week of treatment. I don’t think it’s going to be two starts. I don’t think two starts is going to make it even better. I think one and done and let’s go.”
The Phillies will proceed with caution with Velasquez, who has a history of Tommy John and shoulder surgery from his days in the Houston Astros organization.
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The 24-year-old was acquired in the Ken Giles trade this past offseason along with pitchers Brett Oberholtzer, Mark Appel, Thomas Eshelman, and Harold Arauz. The Phillies also sent minor league prospect Jonathan Arauz, who coincidentally has no relation to the prospect the Phillies received in return for Ken Giles’ services.
Oberholtzer is currently the Phillies long-reliever in the bullpen, while Appel, Eshelman, and Arauz started the year in the minors. Appel was placed on the disabled list early in the season with a right shoulder strain. He is ranked by MLB.com as the Phillies fourth best prospect.
Eshelman, who was ranked on that same list as the organizations’ 15th best prospect, has a 4-2 record in Advanced Single-A Clearwater with a 3.34 ERA in 11 starts. Arauz is 3-4 with a 3.38 ERA for Single-A Lakewood.
The former Phillies closer Giles has had a less-than impressive start to his career in Houston. He is 0-3 with a 5.08 ERA, and was demoted from the closers role, as he only completed one save in four opportunities thus far in Houston.