DUNEDIN, Fla. - Vincent Velasquez's fastball consistently touched 96 mph on Wednesday afternoon in his first spring outing as the righthander wasted little time in gearing up his arm.
Velasquez pitched two innings of the Phillies' 4-4 tie with Toronto, allowing three runs on three hits. He mixed in a hard slider, curveball, and change-up to strike out three batters. Velasquez cruised through the third before yielding a two-run triple in the fourth. He zipped a 96-mph fastball to his very first batter.
"I get after it," Velasquez said. "You have all offseason to prepare. I don't see why you should baby it. I'll pace myself until I have my next outing and then get after it again."
Velasquez, 23, is trying to break camp as the fifth starter. He was acquired in December from Houston as part of the Ken Giles trade. He made his major-league debut last season, went 1-1 with a 4.37 ERA, and flashed the potential to be a power pitcher with strong breaking pitches. Velasquez is still developing his change-up.
He said he was not gearing up his fastball because he knows he is in a race for a starting job. That is just his nature, Velasquez said.
"I'm competitive no matter what it is in any sport," Velasquez said. "I've always been competitive growing up. I was the little kid in the neighborhood that was always on top. I try to keep it that way."
Brown starts over with Jays
Domonic Brown, who signed a minor-league deal last week with Toronto, said he has no regrets about his time with the Phillies.
The former top prospect surged to become an all-star in 2013 but spent half of last season in triple A. The Phillies outrighted Brown in October, and the outfielder elected to become a free agent.
"I put everything on myself," Brown said. "Accountability for me has always been big. I think that's the reason I didn't have any bad times with the fans. It was all on me."
Brown said he took so long to sign a contract this winter because he was waiting for the right situation. The Blue Jays traded Ben Revere in January, which Brown said created an opportunity for him. Brown will compete to be the team's fourth outfielder. He said he has an opt-out clause in his contract and is not sure if he would be willing to open the season in triple A.
"The Phillies did me great," Brown said. "They did a great job. I was over there for about 10 years. A lot of great times. A lot of great memories. It's just time for a fresh start."
J.P. Crawford and Roman Quinn batted first and second, respectively, a leadoff pair the Phillies hope can reach the majors in the next few seasons. . . . Andrew Knapp drove in a go-ahead run in the ninth before Toronto tied it in the bottom half. . . . Jeremy Hellickson will start Friday against visiting Atlanta, and Aaron Nola will start Saturday at Dunedin, Fla. against Toronto. . . . Outfielder Tyler Goeddel, who was selected in the Rule 5 draft, did not play in the first three exhibition games. He is on the travel roster for Thursday's split-squad game in Tampa against the Yankees.