Phillies, Velasquez puzzled by numb finger

Right-hander exits Thursday's loss after one inning as injury bug bites again

Phillies, Velasquez puzzled by numb finger

PHILADELPHIA -- Nobody questions that Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez has a talented right arm, but he's had trouble staying on the field long enough to develop into a reliable, productive starter in the big leagues.

Velasquez left Thursday night's 10-0 loss to the Mets at Citizens Bank Park after the first inning with numbness in his right middle finger.

"I can't say exactly what it is because we don't even know," Velasquez said. "It is bruised. It just came out of nowhere. It was just a weird feeling. It's kind of like one of those blisters where you just automatically get it, somehow, some way it just appears."

So where exactly is the numbness?

"Just the whole middle finger," he said. "Just the tip."

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Velasquez complained of the issue before the game, but they agreed to let him try to pitch through it. Mackanin and Velasquez said they hope to know more about this unusual injury Friday.

Velasquez declined to show his middle finger to reporters. He also said he does not know if he will make his next scheduled start Tuesday in San Diego.

"Have faith and be optimistic," Velasquez said. "We'll shoot for next start. But where we stand right now, I'm clueless just as much they are, just as much as you guys are." 

Velasquez K's Granderson

Velasquez allowed a three-run homer to Wilmer Flores and threw 32 pitches in the first inning on Thursday, but it was Velasquez's decrease in velocity that raised red flags. He entered the game averaging 93.9 mph with his four-seam fastball, but it ranged between 89.4 mph and 92.4 mph against the Mets.

It is not the first time Velasquez has left a game early because of injury. He spent 19 days on the disabled in June 2016 because of a strained right biceps. He spent 49 days on the DL this season because of a strained flexor in his right elbow.

"It's very frustrating," Velasquez said. "Again going back to two years ago, numerous years in the Minor Leagues, dealing with tons of injuries. I've been very injury prone, so it's tough. You don't want to be labeled as that person. Again, it's just my fault, I guess, as far as not taking care of myself. But this is one of those things I can't control. It's a simple bruising that's really affected me. We'll see how it goes tomorrow."

Velasquez is 2-7 with a 5.13 ERA in 13 starts this season. He is 10-13 with a 4.48 ERA in 39 starts since he joined the Phillies in December 2015 in the Ken Giles trade with Houston, but he is 2-10 with a 5.65 ERA in 20 starts since Aug. 9, 2016.

"You've got to pitch with a little pain," Velasquez said. "I wanted to see how long I could last, and it was only one inning."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.