Velasquez making a strong push for final rotation spot

Vince Velasquez has inside track on Phillies final rotation spot
Vince Velasquez made some significant progress on Tuesday in his attempt to secure the final spot in the starting rotation, tossing four-plus scoreless innings in an intrasquad contest at Citizens Bank Park.

Velasquez surrendered two hits and one walk. He sat down six.

“He’s looked really good,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “I don’t think you could ignore what he’s doing.”

Velasquez is battling Nick Pivetta for the final spot in the Phillies rotation behind Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Jake Arrieta, and Zach Eflin.

"He got better as the game went on," Girardi said. "I thought his curveball was good. He looked really good. He’s looked really good his last two outings.”

Wheeler also got some work in during the scrimmage, surrendering a run on three hits. He faced 19 hitters and struck out a pair.

"I thought his stuff was really good tonight." Girardi said.

Bruce excited about opportunities
Jay Bruce spoke with reporters before Tuesday's intrasquad contest and emphasized his interest in not only the DH role, but also playing in the field.

“I’m definitely not resigning to the fact that I’m just going to be the DH,” Bruce said. “I think there’s a chance I’ll have the lion’s share of the DH, for sure. I think that Joe probably has a plan to keep us on a rotation.

“I am definitely used to playing every day and playing the field, playing defense, being involved in the game. But I’ve tried to talk to as many guys as I’ve been able to over the years to try to understand what it takes to stay in the game [as DH], what it takes to keep a routine. I feel pretty comfortable with it.”

Kingery goes yard
Scott Kingery hit a homer and worked a walk on Tuesday in his first intrasquad action since returning after a bout with COVID-19.

“Each day what I’ve been encouraged about is he’s felt better,” Girardi said. “He said he feels strong. That’s a good sign.”

Sounds of the ballpark
Crowd noise was pumped into Citizens Bank Park for Tuesday's intrasquad contest. The noise was pulled from the video game MLB The Show.

“I thought it was good,” Girardi said. “I asked Andrew Knapp about it. He liked it. I’d like to see them maybe use different noises during the course of a game, so it’s not the same noise all the time. But I thought it was good.”

The Phillies will scrimmage again this evening with MLB.TV airing the contest at 6:05pm.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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