Pictured above is Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Vince Velasquez, rolling around in agony after a line drive hit by Adam Eaton nailed him flush on his pitching arm in the second inning of Saturday’s game against the Washington Nationals. What you can’t see is the truly outlandish play Velasquez made before he fell to the ground.
The 96-mph liner ricocheted off Velasquez’s right forearm, landing a few feet toward third base. Velasquez ran to the ball, picked it up with his left hand—his non-throwing hand, to be clear—and threw a strike to first base to beat the Nationals’ speedy Adam Eaton by a fraction of a step. The play ended an inning and saved a run. The play was also nuts. He threw a rocket with his bad hand because he could no longer use his good hand. He even dropped his glove on the way to the ball because he knew he was going to throw it with his left hand. Then he rolled around on the grass like he’d been shot, because he had, basically, except with a baseball instead of a bullet.
When I try to throw a ball with my left hand I look like I’m flailing at bees, and I’m lucky if the ball’s trajectory is within 45 degrees of the direction I’m hoping it will go. Velasquez, who immediately left the game with a right forearm contusion, got Adam Eaton out. Sheesh.
Update, July 2: Velasquez is on the disabled list. Also, apparently he is ambidextrous enough that when bone chips in his elbow kept him from pitching in high school, he played center field and threw lefty. Athletes are impressive!