PITCH MAN

PHILLIES PITCHER VINCE VE­LASQUEZ STEPS DOWN FROM THE MOUND TO TALK TAT­TOOS, GOLF, AND HIS BASE­BALL HE­ROES.

Philadelphia Style - - Contents - BY SARAH JOR­DAN

Phillies pitcher Vince Ve­lasquez steps down from the mound to talk tat­toos, golf, and his base­ball he­roes.

Power pitcher Vince Ve­lasquez, 24, made a stun­ning de­but with the Phils last April in his sec­ond start, with a 16-strike­out, zero-walk shutout against the San Diego Padres. We caught up with the Cal­i­for­nian, known as a fire­baller with pitches north of 100 mph, fresh off spring train­ing in Clear­wa­ter, Florida.

Who are your base­ball he­roes? “My dad is a big [mem­o­ra­bilia] col­lec­tor and when I was younger, he took me to a lot of con­ven­tion cen­ter sign­ings. I met tons of play­ers: Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Reg­gie Jack­son. But my all-time fa­vorite guy grow­ing up was Ken Grif­fey Jr.” You’ve been de­scribed as a pitcher who wears his emo­tions on his sleeve. “Things hap­pen for a rea­son and you some­times have to let it out. But it’s a mat­ter of con­trol­ling my in­ner self. My dad says to fo­cus on my breath­ing. It’s amaz­ing how much breath­ing takes over the mind and body.” You’ve had your share of in­juries. What’s the plan to stay strong? “I work out with a band to strengthen the lit­tle mus­cles in the arm. The arm is the mon­ey­maker, so I have to do what­ever it takes to pro­tect it.” We hear you like to golf in your free time. “That’s my get­away. If I’m hav­ing a bad day, I’ll play a round of golf and turn it around.” Tell us about your tat­toos. “The right arm rep­re­sents my Catholic be­liefs. The left arm is more my war­rior side.” Words to live by? “If you’re ready, you don’t have to get ready.”

“THE ARM IS THE MON­EY­MAKER, SO I HAVE TO DO WHAT­EVER IT TAKES TO PRO­TECT IT.” — vince ve­lasquez

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