Velasquez seeks more efficiency after hitless outing

Philies righty walks four in 3 2/3 innings vs. O's

Velasquez seeks more efficiency after hitless outing

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Vince Velasquez could have left Ed Smith Stadium on Thursday night a little frustrated with himself.

The right-hander walked four and struck out six in 3 2/3 scoreless innings in a 2-2 tie with the Orioles. No hits and no runs is usually a fine day, but Velasquez threw 76 pitches (39 strikes) to put him on pace for 100 through five innings.

Pitch efficiency is a focus for Velasquez, who wants to be more than a five-inning pitcher this season.

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"I don't want to be labeled as that person," said an upbeat Velasquez afterward. "I want to prevent that as much as possible. This is one of the outings where you can really learn from. I'm glad it happened to me. My stuff wasn't really as electric locating-wise, but I had to make pitches."

Velasquez threw 27 pitches (12 strikes) in the first inning as he walked the bases loaded. Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure visited him on the mound, then Velasquez got Chris Johnson to fly out to end the inning.

"It's amazing how just one meeting can change the outcome," Velasquez said. "Stepping off the mound a little bit and breathing, gathering. It can make a big difference. I could really take this and keep this under my hat, apply it later on down the road whenever I hit that bump again, because I know everyone has the ups and downs. I had it last year and I've got to do my best to prevent it. This was a good learning experience."

Velasquez curiously tapped his right hip with his right hand a few times on the mound. No, he said he wasn't trying to get feeling in his fingers.

"Kind of gives me that feedback of got to stay back, try to stay over the rubber and not try to be too fine or too quick to the plate," he said. "Try to be a little more controlled, be balanced and just let it work."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.