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Pirates Place Vince Velasquez On 15-Day IL

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After making just one start since returning from injury, the Pirates have sent right hander Vince Velasquez back to the injured list with right elbow discomfort and recalled right hander Cody Bolton.

Velasquez threw just two innings his return from a three week layoff due to elbow discomfort yesterday, giving up four earned runs against the Mariners before being removed from the game. There’s obviously a lot of concern when a player is sent to the IL almost immediately after returning, and Velasquez relays to Pirates reporters (including Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) that he’ll take a bit longer to rest his elbow. Just what that timeline looks like is unclear, but it seems safe to assume that Velasquez will be out a bit longer than the three weeks he missed in May.

It’s a shame for the Bucs and Velasquez, who was enjoying a nice first season in Pittsburgh. Prior to getting knocked around yesterday, Velasquez had made seven starts of 3.06 ERA ball for the Pirates this season. That was a bright start for a player who has often flashed promising stuff, but has struggled to lock down a rotation spot in recent years. Between 2020-22, Velasquez made 37 starts and 24 relief appearances for the Phillies, Padres and White Sox, pitching to a 5.61 ERA, so this was clearly a step forward with the Bucs.

As Justice delos Santos of MLB.com mentions, GM Ben Cherington told 93.7 The Fan radio that the team had planned to shift Roansy Contreras to the bullpen before Velasquez’ injury, but it now seems those plans will be shelved and Contreras will remain in the rotation, with Bolton going to the pen.

Bolton has made a handful of appearances for the Pirates this year, pitching six innings across three appearances and giving up three earned runs. At Triple-A Indianapolis he owns a 2.08 ERA in 17 1/3 relief innings.





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