Velasquez dazzles in return from DL

Velasquez dazzles in return from DL

PHOENIX -- It wasn't Vince Velasquez's best start of the year. Nor was it likely the best outing he'll have before season's end. But it was certainly one the 24-year-old knew was critical.

After spending the last three weeks on the disabled list, Velasquez pitched five strong innings in an 8-0 win over the D-backs on Monday night at Chase Field.

Before suffering a strained right biceps, Velasquez began to have some issues following a strong start to the season. After his time on the DL, he looked Monday to be carrying the electric stuff he had early on.

"It was a little break to pretty much re-evaluate all my outings and go over little mechanics here and there, work on certain things, and then apply them to my bullpens," Velasquez said. "It's a first day back, so it's a good start and hopefully I can build on it."

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin wanted to limit Velasquez to 90 pitches. He threw 76 in his rehab outing for Double-A Reading last Wednesday, so his arm is still being built back up.

But while Velasquez was in the game, he was in control. He hit 97 mph with his fastball, scattering five hits, with seven strikeouts and no walks.

"He settled in pretty nicely later on, that was good to see," Mackanin said. "His arm feels good obviously. He pitched well."

It was a scoreless game when Velasquez walked off the mound following the top of the fifth, having thrown 84 pitches. But Philadelphia's offense scored a pair in the bottom half of the frame, and Velasquez notched his first win since May 17.

Velasquez won four of his first five starts this season and owned a 1.44 ERA on May 1. Later on however, he went four consecutive starts without completing five innings -- including when he threw just two pitches on June 8 against the Cubs before going on the DL the next day.

Velasquez may have an innings limit placed on him later this season. He has never pitched more than 124 2/3 innings in his professional career, which began in the Astros organization. But for now, he is just focused on building off his first start back from injury.

"I was pretty much on top of everything, everything was working very well and I think today was a good start," Velasquez said. "My body feels great. The arm, that's just going back to trusting myself, going back to trusting the trainers. It's all about your work ethic. If you put all the work in, then there should be no doubts."

Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.