Billy Wagner made seven All-Star rosters throwing with his off arm.
The closer famously broke his right arm twice as a youth, and taught himself to throw lefty against a barn.
Vince Velasquez did something similar. The Phillies right-hander spent his junior year of high school as a left-throwing center fielder thanks to bone spurs in his right elbow, which kept him from pitching.
He’s a righty again, but his ambidexterity came in handy on Saturday.
The 26-year-old took an Adam Eaton comebacker off his right arm, bruising it and sending the ball tumbling toward third.
His arm incapacitated, Velasquez rushed to the rock and threw the Nationals outfielder out with a cannon from his left side to save a run.
.@vjvelasquezrhp got struck with a line drive on his right arm, so he made the play with his left.
He would leave the game, but not before getting the out. pic.twitter.com/V3xR4M7ult
— MLB (@MLB) June 30, 2018
Velasquez left the game with a forearm contusion, then went onto the 10-day DL.
Vince Velasquez, Left-Handed Throwing Mechanics (slow) pic.twitter.com/CGdmqMwakF
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 1, 2018
Though it’ll cost him some time, Velasquez’s de-gloving and gunning down Eaton with his off arm will stand as one of the plays of the year.
Nats pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, Velasquez’s former teammate, agrees.
“I’ve acutally seen him play catch left-handed plenty of times, so it didn’t really surprise me he made that play,” Hellickson said. “He’s an athlete. That’s one of the best plays I’ve seen.”