Pittsburgh Pirates Series Takeaways: Everything Goes Wrong in Tampa Bay
By Marty Leap
Vince Velasquez injury creates rotation doubt
Veteran righty Vince Velasquez has gotten off to a tremendous start with the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. In his first season in Black and Gold, Velasquez owns a 3.06 ERA and a 4.09 FIP through 35.1 innings pitched.
Well, after 3 innings of 1 run ball in Thursday's finally Velasquez exited the game with what the Pirates are calling right elbow discomfort. It came after he could be seen rubbing his elbow on the mound during his final inning of work. Typically, that is not a good sign.
As of this writing we have yet to learn what could be the problem for Velasquez. That said, it is hard to envision a scenario where he avoids an injured list stint. This could be a huge blow to a Pirate pitching staff that has already been hit hard by injuries this season with the losses of JT Brubaker and Mike Burrows. It would also be a big blow due how well Velasquez has been pitching. There is an argument to be made this is the best Velasquez has pitched in his entire career.
If Velasquez hits the IL then Luis Ortiz will likely replace him in the starting rotation. Oritz is the only legitimate starting pitching depth option the Pirates have due to injuries and Quinn Priester's fastball being nowhere near MLB ready. However, Ortiz comes with his own question marks due to concerns about a lack of a third MLB quality pitch.
Let's all hope Velasquez will manage to be ok.