Phils exercising caution with Velasquez, Franco

Starter to be reevaluated Tuesday; third baseman sits out Monday

Phils exercising caution with Velasquez, Franco

TORONTO -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin updated the status of recently injured starter Vince Velasquez and third baseman Maikel Franco prior to Philadelphia's home-and-home series opener against the Blue Jays on Monday.

Velasquez left his Wednesday afternoon start against the Cubs after just two pitches, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday with a right biceps strain.

"He'll be re-evaluated tomorrow and then we'll determine when he'll start throwing," Mackanin said. "He's here [in Toronto]."

The 24-year-old is 5-2 with a 3.65 ERA after coming over in a trade with Houston for Ken Giles in December, and he has been a major bright spot for the Phillies' rotation this season. While no timetable has been set for a return, Mackanin insisted the team will be cautious with their young starter.

"Everything's in pencil," Mackanin said. "I'm anxious to see him tomorrow."

Franco, who was out of the starting lineup for Monday's contest, suffered a right knee sprain in the Phillies' 5-4 loss to the Nationals on Sunday and is day to day. Franco hurt himself in a rundown play during the fifth inning, but he stayed in the game and finished 2-for-4 with a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning.

"I didn't want to chance anything today, so we'll see how he is tomorrow," Mackanin said. "There's a little bit of swelling."

"I don't feel I can be able to play today, so we'll figure it out tomorrow," added Franco, who leads the Phillies in both home runs (11) and RBIs (33). "When I come in, we'll see if my leg is better and try to be ready."

Advice for Eflin
Prior to Monday's game, Mackanin talked to starting pitcher Zach Eflin, the newest member of the Phillies. Eflin was called up to make his Major League debut against the Blue Jays on Tuesday in the spot normally occupied by Velasquez. While the Phillies' skipper did not guarantee a long-term spot in the rotation for the 22-year-old, he did share a few words of advice.

"I was in here talking to him today," Mackanin said. "I told him, 'Up here, if you make your pitches, you're going to be successful. If you make mistakes, you're going to get hit. It's as simple as that. Pitch the way you normally pitch, and if you make quality pitches, you're going to be OK.' He's got the stuff to be successful. It boils down to command and control."

Originally selected by the Padres in the first round of the 2012 Draft, Eflin was acquired from the Dodgers alongside left-handed pitcher Tom Windle in December 2014 for shortstop Jimmy Rollins. The Orlando, Fla., native went 5-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 11 starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for and covered the Phillies on Monday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.