Velasquez sidelined two to three weeks with lat injury

Astros pitching prospect remains optimistic as he mends in camp

Velasquez sidelined two to three weeks with lat injury

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros pitching prospect Vincent Velasquez will be sidelined from throwing for at least the next two to three weeks while he recovers from a strained right lat injury suffered while playing in the Arizona Fall League on Nov. 4.

Velasquez, the Astros' No. 7-ranked prospect by MLB.com, isn't competing for a spot in the Major League rotation, but his latest injury will keep him from showing his stuff before the Major League coaching staff at least for the next few weeks. He's cleared for all other activities, but can't throw.

"I'm not too worried about it," he said. "Me personally, I'm very optimistic going into it, taking the positive out and just biding my time and trying not to rush it. I'm doing exactly what the trainers want me to do to make it better.

Top Prospects: Velasquez, HOU

Velasquez, 22, missed two months last season with a strained groin and all of the 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. When healthy, he had a nice year at Class A Advanced Lancaster, going 7-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 15 games (10 starts).

"We were hoping he would be a little further along, but the reality is it's the type of injury that takes a while to resolve itself," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "We're close, and I know he's anxious to get out there and start throwing, but our medical staff doesn't want to clear him until we reach one more milestone. I expect he'll be throwing here in camp at some point, but not right now."

Astros pitching prospect Asher Wojciechowski missed all of last Spring Training after suffering a lat injury early in camp, so these can take time.

"I'm just glad to be here," Velasquez said. "There are a lot of Major Leaguers here and I'm just trying to pick their brain as much as possible. I'm not too worried about going out there and rushing and trying to make a statement or anything like that. That will come in time. There's a time for everything, and I'll have my chance at some point, and I'll be able to show what I've got."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.