Toughness and finesse so rarely intersect in baseball, but Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Vince Velasuez showed a way to make it happen on Saturday.
During the second inning of the Phillies’ game against the Washington Nationals on Saturday, Velasquez took a 96 mph line drive from Adam Eaton off his right elbow and still managed to make an out. The way Velasquez made the throw is a play of the year candidate, but it might also have come with a physical cost.
Vince Velasquez’s incredible, unfortunate play
It was immediately obvious Velasquez was in immense pain after the line drive hit him, but instead of leaving the play to the third baseman and yielding a hit, the right-hander took off his glove, picked up the ball and threw a strike to first base with his left arm. Eaton was called out to end the inning, while Velasquez soon fell to the ground and started writhing in pain.
.@vjvelasquezrhp got struck with a line drive on his right arm, so he made the play with his left.
He would leave the game, but not before getting the out. pic.twitter.com/V3xR4M7ult
— MLB (@MLB) June 30, 2018
Somehow, Velazquez had the presence of mind to take off his glove right after the ball hit him, the skill to make a perfect throw with the arm he’s not supposed to use and the toughness to stay off the ground until after the play.
Vince Velasquez’s injury outlook
Unfortunately, that was Velasquez’s final play of the game, and the comebacker looked painful enough that a serious injury seemed to be a significant possibility for the right-hander. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters after the game, which the Phillies won 3-2, that x-rays on Velasquez’s arm came back negative.
Gabe Kapler said x-rays were negative for Vince Velasquez. He will be evaluated again tomorrow.
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) July 1, 2018
The 26-year-old was pulled from the game after two innings of work and was replaced by rookie reliever Victor Arano. While his 4.69 ERA is well below average, Velasquez has made every start for the Phillies so far this season and ranks second on the team in strikeouts and innings pitched. Losing him could be a tough blow for the team’s pitching depth.
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