Joe Blanton Dealing With Nerve Damage In Elbow

Philadelphia Phillies righty starter Joe Blanton is on the disabled list with a sore elbow that has bothered him since he came off the DL the first time, and his 2011 season is in jeopardy.

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Joe Blanton Injury: Nerve Damage Found In Phillies Starter's Elbow

The last we heard from sidelined Phillies righty Joe Blanton, he was to rest his ailing right elbow for 3-4 weeks. After resting and picking up a throwing program, Blanton experienced renewed discomfort, and after being sent for examination, we have word on the matter. David Hale:

Blanton has nerve damage, more tests needed. Contreras had PRP injection. Both are a ways off. Blanton unlikely to start again in 2011.

Blanton's ligament is just fine - this we know - but the nerve damage is new, and the severity of the problem won't be known until Blanton undergoes more tests. What's clear, though, is that Blanton's 2011 season is in jeopardy. And not just as a starter - overall. He could conceivably return as a reliever, but there's no guarantee.

The good news for the Phillies is that they haven't missed Blanton that much, what with Vance Worley's 2.02 ERA and all. Blanton's expensive and under contract through 2012, which is bad, but what the Phillies are most concerned with is winning the World Series, and it doesn't appear that Blanton's absence is making that in any way less likely. They have baseball's best record and have been managing just fine.

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Joe Blanton To Rest Injured Elbow 3-4 Weeks

Phillies righty Joe Blanton has already been on the disabled list once this year with an elbow problem, you'll remember. He came back quickly and threw some innings, but he experienced discomfort during those innings, and wound up going back on the DL last week. He's paid a visit to the famous Dr. James Andrews, and now, via Matt Gelb, we've got Blanton's new plan:

Joe Blanton saw James Andrews: He will throw in 3-4 weeks. No surgery.

Obviously, it's good news that Blanton doesn't need to go under the knife, but when you consider that Blanton will need to rebuild his arm strength after he resumes throwing, he could be out until the All-Star break.

Fortunately for the Phillies, they have a more than capable replacement in Vance Worley, who has allowed four runs over three starts, with eight walks and 15 strikeouts. Worley should hold Blanton's spot down until the veteran is healthy, and possibly even after that.

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Joe Blanton Returning To Disabled List With Cranky Elbow

Joe Blanton's already been on the disabled list once this year with an elbow problem. He came back without going on a rehab stint to make two starts, but his elbow was barking during and after each of them, and on Thursday he was scratched from his third start just minutes before game time. The good news is that replacing Blanton with Kyle Kendrick allowed Jason Giambi to make history, and everybody likes history. The bad news is that Blanton was scratched due to continued elbow discomfort, and now the Phillies are sending him back on the DL.

Blanton's already had an MRI on his elbow that showed no significant structural damage, but he's due for another on Friday, just to make sure there's nothing new, and that nothing got missed the first time. Those results will determine the length of time for which he's sidelined.

Blanton believes he simply came back from the disabled list too quickly and just needs more recovery time. In any event, he'll be replaced in the rotation again by Vance Worley, who has allowed two runs in 16 innings over four appearances with the Phillies. Blanton's the higher-paid of the two, but Worley might be the better pitcher.

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Joe Blanton Scratched From Thursday Start

Even after coming back from the disabled list, Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton was suffering from pain in his elbow. Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee described the elbow as "cranky", which almost sounds harmless, like your uncle who shows up for Thanksgiving every year and tells the same ethnic jokes. Blanton was scratched from his start on Thursday, though, so the elbow was likely upgraded to "indignant". (An MRI might be needed to see if there are signs that it's "wrathful".)

While Kyle Kendrick got the spot start in Blanton's absence, it's likely that Vance Worley will get called up again to fill in if Blanton has to go back on the disabled list. Worley has been doing well in triple-A, and earlier he had a pair of good starts as Roy Oswalt's replacement.

Blanton hasn't pitched especially well this year, so every start he cedes to Worley makes things especially interesting. He's already the weak link in the rotation best known for winning the 2011 and 2012 World Series, so the last thing he needs is some hotshot rookie coming up and making him look even worse.

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Joe Blanton To Make Scheduled Start On Saturday

Phillies starter Joe Blanton recently came off the disabled list and earned a win in his first start back, but it wasn't the best start he's ever thrown, and more, he mentioned after the game that his elbow didn't feel 100%. Blanton had to pitch through some discomfort, and pitching coach Rich Dubee referred to his elbow as "cranky".

Given that, there was some worry about Blanton's health. The team said it'd have a better idea about Blanton's immediate future after he threw a bullpen session on Wednesday. Well, that bullpen session's over. Todd Zolecki?

Blanton threw a bullpen today. Said it went well. Will start Saturday. Said elbow isn't an issue, although it remains cranky.

There you go. Blanton's elbow still isn't 100%, but the Phillies aren't planning to skip or delay his next start because of it, figuring it's just a little rust he has to shake off after spending time on the DL. We'll see if Blanton feels better after his next start than he did after his last one.

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Joe Blanton's Elbow 'Still Cranky' After Pitcher Returns To Phillies

Good news first: starting pitcher Joe Blanton returned to the Philadelphia Phillies' rotation on Monday night after a brief DL stint, and he even got a win for his trouble after limiting the Florida Marlins to three runs in five innings. Blanton only threw 66 pitches, but after some time off, that's perfectly acceptable.

Now the bad news. Or at least, the not-so-good news. While Blanton threw, the elbow that sent him to the disabled list in the first place may not be feeling so hot. Writes Jim Salisbury:

In fact, the closest [Blanton] came to giving a positive appraisal of the condition of his right elbow was when he was asked if he felt any pain at all in pitching five innings against the Florida Marlins on Monday night.
 
"It was OK," Blanton said. "I’m able to pitch."

Added pitching coach Rich Dubee:

"I don’t think he’s 100 percent," Dubee said after the game. "It’s still a little cranky. At the same time there was some rust, too ... We’ll see," he said. "He’s definitely not 100 percent."

So according to the Phillies' pitching coach, Blanton wasn't at 100%. And Blanton didn't do much to refute the notion, either with his performance or his words. All we can do now is wait and see how Blanton feels in the coming days. Given that he didn't go on a rehab assignment, it isn't surprising that he'd be a little off in his first game back. But if this elbow discomfort holds up, the Phillies may need to back off and take things slowly with their #5 starter. While Blanton's willing to pitch through a cranky elbow, it isn't in his or the organization's best interests to have him do so for an extended period of time.

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Joe Blanton Coming Off DL To Pitch Monday Against Marlins

It looks like the Phillies’ vaunted pitching rotation, recently down a couple of starters, is about to start getting whole soon. From the Inquirer’s Matt Gelb:

Joe Blanton (impingement in right elbow) threw another bullpen session, and the team expects him to come off the disabled list to start Monday’s series opener in Florida.

Blanton’s been listed as the Phillies’ starter, so this deal looks as done as a deal can be, 24 hours before the actual thing.

Blanton’s replacement in the rotation, rookie Vance Worley, won both his starts and gave up just one run in 12 innings. Currently he’s listed as the Phillies’ starter Friday against the Braves, but that slot will be filled by Roy Oswalt if he’s healthy enough to come off the DL then.

Which probably would send Worley back to triple-A Lehigh Valley. Still, it’s a long season and it should be heartening for everyone to know that Worley’s serving as a fine insurance policy. As if the Phillies didn’t already have enough starting pitchers.

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Joe Blanton Rapidly Nearing Return To Phillies

Phillies fifth starter Joe Blanton has been on the disabled list for nearly a week with an elbow impingement. It sounds like somewhat scary stuff, but a few days ago general manager Ruben Amaro said that organization wasn't very concerned, and now it's looking like Blanton will only miss the minimum amount of time. David Hale:

Blanton has thrown last 2 days and feels good. Very confident he'll be ready when eligible to come off DL. Prob no need for rehab start.

If Blanton's already throwing without discomfort, then that's an excellent sign, and though he still has some time to go between now and the date that he's eligible to come off the DL, all indications are currently positive. You usually see pitchers end up getting a brief rehab assignment after DL stints like this one, but no such rehab assignment looks to be in the cards.

Vance Worley has started one game to date as Blanton's replacement in the rotation, spinning six shutout innings.

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Joe Blanton Elbow Injury Not Considered A Major One

Phillies starting pitcher Joe Blanton was just placed on the disabled list with an impingement in his elbow. However, while the injury might sound a little scary, general manager Ruben Amaro doesn't appear to be too concerned:

There is no timetable on a return for Blanton, but Amaro does not expect it to be a prolonged absence.

"We just don't know," Amaro said. "It'll be a shorter one. We'll find out. We're generally pleased with the MRI."

The MRI to which Amaro refers is one that Blanton had on Thursday, showing no structural damage. There was some concern because Blanton had been feeling discomfort for a few starts in a row, but the exam seems to have eased everyone's mind.

Still, Blanton isn't completely out of the woods - while impingements are usually treated with rest, they do sometimes require surgical intervention. As David Murphy writes, Chris Carpenter and Bartolo Colon are among the pitchers who've had to go under the knife for an injury that was initially diagnosed as an elbow impingement.

So we'll see. Odds are, Blanton's back before long, but there exists some possibility that he'll have to be opened up, which would knock him out for at least several weeks.

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Joe Blanton's Elbow Injury Sends Him To DL

Well, if a Phillies starter has to hit the DL, at least it's the right one. Two tweets from beat writer Matt Gelb:

Joe Blanton has been placed on the DL with an inprngement of the right elbow. Vance Worley starts tomorrow.

That would be impingement, of course. Blanton said he didn't have his best stuff last start. Velo was down ~2 mph on sinker.

With a 5.92 ERA and being winless in four starts, it's not like Blanton was exactly making anyone forget about the Fab Four ahead of him in the rotation. But he really hasn't pitched as poorly as his ERA suggests, and presumably would have been a perfectly fine No. 5 starter going forward.

And maybe that will still happen. At the moment, the job goes to prospect Vance Worley, who's been outstanding this month with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Worley actually pitched 13 innings for the Phillies last September and looked good. According to John Sickels, Worley's "pitches are generally rated major league average, but he has four of them and he throws strikes. I think he can be a serviceable fourth starter."

So being a serviceable fifth starter should be a breeze.

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