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Pirates SP Vince Velasquez leaves game with an apparent elbow injury

We discuss the Pittsburgh Pirates pulling starter Vince Velasquez after only three innings due to an elbow issue.

Vince Velasquez #27 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on May 04, 2023 in St Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Pirates have pulled starting pitcher Vince Velasquez after just three innings of work due to an elbow issue. There is hope that it is just discomfort, but when it comes to elbow issues, it could mean that Velasquez will be headed to the IL for further evaluation and added recovery time. The lefty Jose Hernandez came on in relief against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Velasquez has been a solid part of the Pirates’ hot start to the season. Entering Thursday, he had a 4-2 record with a 3.06 ERA. The 30-year-old Velasquez was experiencing a bit of a career resurgence this season and looked great in his last two outings. He had combined for 13 shutout innings allowing only seven hits and striking out 15.

Pittsburgh may have a variety of options when trying to replace Velasquez. If he is sidelined just for a start, they could get by just having a bullpen day and letting several players get some work. If Velasquez needs to miss more time, they could call up their No. 4 prospect Quinn Priester or No. 8 prospect Luis Ortiz who started four games for the franchise in 2022.