As the trade deadline approaches, the Phillies are hoping to make some additions the easy way — getting guys back from injury.
Roy Oswalt threw a bullpen session on Sunday and is now scheduled to make a rehab start Wednesday at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
“It felt good,” the loquacious Oswalt said regarding Sunday’s session.
The plan is for Oswalt to throw around 60 pitches for the IronPigs, where his velocity will be monitored as closely as his back. Depending on how it goes Oswalt could be ready to return no later than the first week of August, possibly after making only one more rehab start. With rumors of fill-in phenom Vance Worley being part of multiple trade packages, the Phillies securing the services of their fourth ace for the stretch run would be huge.
Another injured regular is seeing progress, as third baseman Placido Polanco took some infield on Sunday. Phillies first base coach hit Polanco ground balls while head athletic trainer watched closely — by playing first.
Polanco also took some swings in the cage Sunday and then Monday participated in batting practice with the rest of the team.
It seems like Polanco is coming along nicely, with the painkiller injection he took in his back last week helping the recovery process. While Michael Martinez has played surprisingly well in relief (hitting .294 in July with his first two major league homeruns to go with 15 RBIs in 14 games), it will be huge to get a healthy Polanco back in the lineup as the season hits crunch time.
Those are the positive developments.
For Joe Blanton the news isn’t quite as good. The well-paid fifth starter will be going in for tests today to further investigate the recurring elbow issues he’s been facing most of the season. So far, all tests on the elbow have revealed no structural damage, and even after an evaluation by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews the soreness issue continues.
The speculation is that Blanton has nerve damage in the elbow. If that’s the case, it’s possible he could be shut down for the season. If that happens, and if Worley is indeed traded, the Phillies would be looking at either Kyle Kendrick or the recently-signed Aaron Heilman as the fifth starter.
Luckily they only need four in the playoffs.
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