Former fifth starter Joe Blanton has been out since May 23 with an elbow impingement (fancy talk for soreness/inflammation), but he’s finally back. On Monday night the Phillies activated Blanton from the 60-day disabled list. This past Friday Blanton threw a scoreless rehab inning for Lakewood in which he didn’t allow a baserunner, and more importantly, showed that he’s finally healthy.
For most teams the return of a starting member of the rotation would be a fantastic lift, especially down the stretch as the postseason approaches. But with Blanton, really, the Phillies don’t need him. They have four aces that speak for themselves, plus the legend of rookie Vance Worley grows with each start. Blanton isn’t coming back to the rotation.
So the plan then is to use him in the bullpen, where an experienced veteran arm should technically prove invaluable. The problem is, Blanton has notoriously struggled early in games, with first innings sometimes being scarier than those David Wright/Jose Reyes “fashion” pics.
So it will be interesting to see how Charlie Manuel uses Blanton going forward. With David Herndon showing recently why he’s David Herndon, Blanton may end up getting a few looks before the month ends and the playoffs begin.
Also returning to the Phillies is another former starter in Kyle Kendrick, who was activated from the paternity list after being away spending time with his wife and newborn child. So congrats to Kyle, who like Blanton, may provide the most value as a spot starter to ensure the aces are well rested heading into the playoffs.