WASHINGTON — It’s not great news, but it could have been a lot worse.
“The results (of an MRI) were fine,” said Velasquez, who exited Wednesday’s start against the Cubs after just two pitches. “I’m not worried about it. It’s nothing too critical. Just a little fluid in there.”
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Manager Pete Mackanin confirmed that the injury was minor and that the club was showing caution by placing Velasquez on the DL. He said he was unsure how long the 24-year-old right-hander would be sidelined.
Velasquez’s trip to the DL becomes an opportunity for 22-year-old right-hander Zach Eflin. He will come up from Triple A and make his major-league debut in Velasquez’s regularly scheduled spot Tuesday in Toronto.
The Phillies announced Eflin’s promotion on Friday and the timing was noteworthy. He was one of the first pieces to join the Phillies’ rebuild when the team acquired him in the December 2014 trade that sent Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers. Rollins was designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox on Friday (see story).
Eflin will not be added to the roster until after Monday’s game. The team added reliever Luis Garcia from Triple A in the interim.
Eflin, a 6-6 sinkerballer, was off to a strong start at Lehigh Valley. He was 5-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 11 starts. He does not put up big strikeout totals — he had just 55 in 68 1/3 innings — but his control is good (just 11 walks) and he’d given up just 49 hits.
Velasquez, acquired from Houston in the Ken Giles trade in December, is a veteran of Tommy John surgery and he’s had other injuries in his career. He has pitched more than 100 innings just once since coming into pro ball in 2010. The Phillies had planned to be careful with his workload this season. Backing him off now gives them an opportunity to manage his innings while treating his minor injury.