Hernandez Shaking off the Rust in Clearwater

Second baseman Cesar Hernandez was idled on June 10th with an oblique injury, one of the more painful and debilitating injuries for a player to rehab. A month later, Hernandez started a rehab assignment with the Clearwater Threshers, and the good news is simply that he’s been able to play three straight days at second base and isn’t reporting any ill-effects of the injury.

After his second game with the Threshers on Thursday, Hernandez told reporters, “It feels better. I played five innings yesterday and today I played seven, so I feel great.”

Hernandez played seven innings again Friday night and will have a day off Saturday before playing back-to-back nine inning games with Clearwater on Sunday and Monday. At that step, the Phillies will re-evaluate the situation to determine where Hernandez goes from there.

The 27-year old second baseman reported that he doesn’t feel any pain fielding groundballs and has had no trouble running or swinging, which is good news.

At the plate, Hernandez admits that he still has work to do on getting his timing back.

“I feel like I’m really lost because I had four weeks and I was doing nothing. I’m trying to get my timing, but I will be good,” said Hernandez, who has started 0-for-6 at the plate with two strikeouts. He has drawn three walks, helping him to test the injury while running bases.

On Thursday, Hernandez was joined by teammate Vince Velasquez, who made a rehab start for the Threshers as he battles back from a flexor strain in his right forearm and elbow.

Velasquez went five innings for the Threshers, allowing just one run on two hits and one walk. One of the hits he allowed was a solo home run. Velasquez also struck out five batters in the game, throwing 71 pitches, 44 for strikes.

In three rehab starts since July 1st, Velasquez has thrown 10 innings, giving up six hits and three walks that led to five runs – four earned – and he struck out nine batters. In those starts, he’s thrown a combined 156 pitches, 94 of which were for strikes.m

There has been no official announcement on when Velasquez will return to the Phillies, and there has been speculation that he could return in the bullpen. CBS Sports is reporting that he might return Tuesday to start for the Phillies, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

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