It didn’t appear that Hector Velazquez was ready for the big leagues after his first career start against the Oakland Athletics on May 18, but the right-hander is doing his best to change that opinion.
Velazquez was called up in case of emergency Wednesday and was thrust into action against the Philadelphia Phillies when Brian Johnson was forced to leave the game with an injury. He tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his first career win, and another opportunity to start.
That opportunity came Monday night against the Kansas City Royals, and he made the most of it.
With the Boston Red Sox’s bullpen needing a breather, Velazquez threw 5 1/3 quality innings. The righty surrendered two runs on five hits while striking out three. He threw 77 pitches (55 strikes) and retired the final eight batters he faced, but was saddled with a no-decision in Boston’s 4-2 loss.
“He gave us everything we could have asked for (Monday),” manager John Farrell said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “He was very good, with the exception of a 3-2 changeup that stayed in the middle of the plate to (Eric) Hosmer. He settled down and got us into the sixth inning.
“You get a little bit of a game plan before the game and he did everything we would’ve hoped. That’s to keep the game close, keep it under control, get us to the sixth inning. For Hector’s effort, very good job on his part.”
If Velazquez can continue to be a serviceable major league starter, the Red Sox will have added valuable depth to their starting rotation.
Here are more notes from Red Sox vs. Royals.
— Eduardo Rodriguez is making progress as he continues to come back from a dislocated right kneecap.
— The Red Sox signed two players from the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft on Monday. Boston came to terms with infielder Tanner Nishioka (ninth round) and outfielder Jordan Wren (10th round). Both players have been assigned to Single-A Lowell, the club announced Monday.
— Red Sox prospect Jason Groome made his first start since he left a start with Single-A Greenville with a lat injury April 10. The No. 12 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings for Single-A Lowell on Monday.
“I felt great,” Groome said, per Mass Live’s Kevin Dillon. “I was ready to get back out and pitch against real competition. And then the rain kind of brought my attitude down a little bit. But like I said, I was ready to go as soon as I started throwing in the bullpen.”
— Jackie Bradley Jr. now is hitting .382/.475/ .765 vs. left-handed pitching this season.
Thumbnail photo via Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports Images