Players are dropping like flies in Philadelphia. Joe Blanton is the latest victim of this injury virus which seems to be spreading quicker than both the Swine and Bird Flu combined.
The diagnosis is medial impingement of the right elbow, which is Blanton’s throwing arm. Treatment for this injury can vary from rest and medication to surgery. There is no word yet on how Blanton’s treatment will play out.
Blanton now joins fellow teammates on the DL, including shortstop Chase Utley, closer Brad Lidge, back-up closer Jose Contreras, relief pitcher JC Romero and outfielder Domonic Brown.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz is also going to be inactive for several days while he recovers from a back issue. For now, he will not be placed on the DL and Brian Schneider will fill in.
Vance Worley has been called up from the AAA Iron Pigs to start tomorrow’s game against the Mets in place of Blanton. In four starts this year, Worley is 2-2 with a 2.78 ERA and 9.9 K/9. In 13 innings last year with the major league club, Worley was impressive with a 1.38 ERA and 12 strikeouts.
While this is a great opportunity for a young prospect, the news for Blanton is surprising. Blanton is coming off two straight quality starts after having a rough start to the season. He showed no signs of elbow issues Saturday against the Padres. Just when things were looking up for Blanton, the crap has suddenly hit the fan.
What was once a very experienced pitching staff for the Phillies has just gotten a whole lot younger very quickly. Having to depend on younger arms both in the starting staff and in the bullpen is a little nerve racking.
How a younger pitcher will respond to a stressful situation is the great unknown. Although in Worley’s case, he showed very good poise last year in his short time with the big club. That is a plus.
But this is a new year with new pressures, including having to keep pace with four of the best starters in the game in Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. If Worley can stick to competing with himself, instead of the rest of this veteran staff, he should be just fine.
For Phillies fans, the way to look at all this carnage is simple. Perhaps the team is getting all the injuries out of the way early so everyone will be healthy late in the season. Or, is that too optimistic? Time will tell.
In the interim, just keep sending out that positive, happy energy and hope for the best.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography