The throw would have been spectacular righthanded.
Without the use of his throwing arm, Vince Velasquez improvised on one of the more incredible plays of this season or any other during the Phillies' 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.
With two outs in the second inning, the Phillies righthander was hit on the arm by a liner off the bat of Nationals leadoff man Adam Eaton.
The line drive was clocked at 96 mph by Statcast.
Velasquez veered about 10 feet to the right of the mound to retrieve the ball. Unable to throw righthanded, he flipped off his glove and gunned the ball to first base lefthanded to just beat the speedy Eaton for the third out.
"I didn't know where the ball was going to go, I just hoped I was going to get the ball and finish the play," Velasquez said.
It turns out he has thrown lefthanded before. As a junior in high school he had bone spurs in his right hand and played center field lefthanded.
His teammates and coaches were still in awe.
"It was one of the more athletic plays that most of us have ever seen," said manager Gabe Kapler. "… In the dugout, we were all pretty floored by the lefthanded throw and the creativity and, in fact, two innings later everybody was still talking about it."
Velasquez said there was no way he could have made the throw righthanded.
"That is the reason why I dropped my glove," he said. "I know I am capable of throwing lefthanded and I was hoping for a strike. I have thrown lefty numerous times and I know how accurate I can be and how non-accurate I can be and I was hoping that I could literally get it there and hopefully finish the play."
Velasquez then lay on the ground, writhing in pain before eventually walking off the field. It would be his final pitch of the evening.
"I had no feeling right after that and that is why I reacted the way I did," he said.
The Phillies announced that he had a right forearm bruise and that X-rays were negative. He will be reevaluated Sunday.
Velasquez said that he was feeling good afterward but that it was too early to tell if he would be able to make his next start. When asked after the game how sore he was, Velasquez said, "I am pretty good. It was a nice hit but it caught me right on the fat. I am very optimistic, thank God nothing is really severe, nothing is really broken."