Velasquez throws lefty for out, departs early

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PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez remained on his feet just long enough to make one of the most remarkable plays of the season Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park. Afterward, he said he felt great.

"Alive," he said.

He surprised nearly everybody in the second inning of a 3-2 victory over the Nationals. Moments after Nationals right fielder Adam Eaton ripped a 96-mph line drive off Velasquez's right arm, Velasquez dropped his glove, picked up the ball with his left hand and threw left-handed to first base to get Eaton for the final out of the second inning.

"I didn't know where the ball was going to go," said Velasquez, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday with a right forearm contusion. "I just hoped that I could get the ball and finish the play. I actually surprised myself throwing a strike right there."

"We were pretty floored," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.

Velasquez collapsed to the turf after the play. He eventually got up and left the field, but did not return. The Phillies said Velasquez suffered a bruised forearm with the X-rays coming back negative. Velasquez is optimistic, but does not know yet if he will make his next start.

He will be evaluated again Sunday.

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"I took a fall for a little bit, thought it was more of a scare," Velasquez said. "But it turned out everything was all right."

Anybody who has played baseball with Velasquez knows he throws left-handed. He played his junior year of high school as a left-handed-throwing center fielder because bone spurs in his right elbow prevented him from pitching. He noted Saturday that while he never threw out a runner at the plate, he did get a runner at third base.

Velasquez often threw left-handed when Phillies pitchers shagged balls in the outfield during batting practice. He said he surprised Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana on Friday when he threw left-handed to him.

"So I kind of warmed up for that play today," Velasquez joked.

"I've acutally seen him play catch left-handed plenty of times, so it didn't really surprise me he made that play," said Nationals right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who played with Velasquez the previous two seasons with the Phillies. "He's an athlete. That's one of the best plays I've seen."

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