Saturday, April 21, 2018
Sports

Young pitcher Velasquez impresses Phillies

CLEARWATER — Phillies starting pitching hopeful Vince Velasquez allowed two runs in four innings in an 8-5 win Saturday against the Blue Jays' star-studded lineup.

Velasquez gave up a booming single off the rightfield wall to reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson in the first inning, but he responded by getting Jose Bautista on a foulout and Troy Tulowitzki on a strikeout to end any possible threat.

"I just like the way he attacks," Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said.

In the third, Velasquez set the same All-Star trio down 1-2-3 in a perfect inning.

"That's a tough lineup," said Velasquez, 23, acquired in the December trade that sent RH closer Ken Giles to the Astros. "I've never faced this team before. The first time I faced them (earlier this spring), that was only Donaldson, and I nailed him in the ribs. I wanted to bounce back from that outing. I gave up two. Things happen."

The right-hander struggled with fastball command, particularly against the bottom of Toronto's order. Velasquez is competing with LHPs Brett Oberholtzer and Adam Morgan for the fifth spot in the Phillies' rotation.

Jays: Pitch needs work

CLEARWATER — Blue Jays RHP R.A. Dickey allowed three runs on five hits in 41/3 innings in Saturday's 8-5 loss to the Phillies, but his only mistake may have been trying to sneak a curveball by nine-hole hitter David Lough with one on and one out in the third inning. Lough hit a two-run homer.

"It was a situation to work on something, a little fastball in, and it ran back over the plate," Dickey said. "In an in-season game I wouldn't have messed with it. But it was a great opportunity and a great spot to try to use that and get some feedback from it and I got some great feedback. I need to execute it a little bit better."

Dickey and his teammates got a laugh when one of his knuckleballs was clocked on the stadium gun at 102 mph. Dickey's knucklers top out in the low 80s.

Yanks: Lofty comparisons

PORT CHARLOTTE — Yankees RHP Luis Severino was sharp over 32/3 shutout innings in Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Rays.

Severino gave up four hits, struck out four and threw 43 of 59 pitches for strikes. He got out of a two-on, two-out jam in the first by striking out LF Desmond Jennings.

"He has composure out there," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Sometimes you forget he's 22.

"When you look at David Price, the way he came up. He kind of started really in the bullpen, thrown right in the World Series in the bullpen. (Clayton) Kershaw, a lot of poise. I was around Greg Maddux when I was a young player. There was a ton of poise. He knew exactly what he wanted to do, and I feel like Sevie is the same way."

Severino is trying to secure a spot in the rotation after going 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts during his first major-league season last year, which he entered as one of New York's top prospects.

"I see Severino being one of the best pitchers in the game," Yankees RF Carlos Beltran said. "He just needs experience."

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