Aug 092011
 
Phillies RHP Joe Blanton

Phillies RHP Joe Blanton

Entering the season, Joe Blanton was the Phillies fifth starter, the guy the Four Horsemen insisted on being included in all photos featuring the rotation.  It was a nice gesture from a great group of guys. 

But going forward, if the rotation is to be photographed as a group the Horsemen won’t need to feel bad for failing to include Blanton.  That’s because the veteran righty is looking to return this season from an elbow injury, only instead of re-claiming his former rotation spot Blanton would be headed to the bullpen.

This was hinted at a couple weeks ago by Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who said at the time that Blanton likely won’t start another game this season, with a best case scenario being a late bullpen addition.  Amaro also said Blanton would seek more tests to determine the extent of the elbow’s nerve damage and to see if surgery would be immediately needed.

Those tests have been sought. 

Blanton met Monday with the renowned Dr James Andrews, who said surgery wouldn’t be required right now on Blanton’s balky right elbow ligament, per MLB.com.  The 31 year-old will continue to rehab with the hope that a return to the team this season could be in order; however, if Blanton’s elbow doesn’t respond favorably to rehab he’s looking at season-ending surgery.

“He doesn’t have anything wrong with his ligament apparently,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “If he does have that procedure it’s like a two- or three-month rehab. Even if he has to do it at the end of the year we think he’s going to be ready to go in Spring Training.”

Before heading to the disabled list on May 16, Blanton posted a record of 1-2 with an ERA of 5.50.  It’s safe to say that Vance Worley is comfortably occupying that fifth starter spot no matter when Blanton comes back.

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