Slated to open on DL, prospect Velasquez starts program

Slated to open on DL, prospect Velasquez starts program

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros pitching prospect Vincent Velasquez began his throwing program Thursday after sitting out the first three weeks of camp with a strained right lat, an injury suffered while playing in the Arizona Fall League on Nov. 4.

Velasquez, the Astros' No. 7-ranked prospect by, will begin the season on the disabled list, general manager Jeff Luhnow said. It will take him a few weeks to work up to pitching in the bullpen and facing hitters, and so Velasquez will remain at extended Spring Training.

"There's a lot of activity and a lot of trainers here and pitching coaches," Luhnow said. "It's a better place for him than going out with a [Minor League] club. At some point, when he's getting close, he'll go out with a club."

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).

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for 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.