Jul 212011
 
Aaron Heilman

The Phillies signed veteran Aaron Heilman to a minor league deal (photo: G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)

We wrote earlier today about the Phillies possibly trading Vance Worley to the Astros for Hunter Pence, and the obvious question becomes, if that deal were to happen, who fills Worley’s spot in the rotation with Joe Blanton and Roy Oswalt still on the shelf?  They really have no more big club ready arms right now with Worley and Kyle Kendrick already filling in.

Now it looks like the Phillies may have just answered that question, announcing today the signing of veteran starting pitcher Aaron Heilman.  It’s a minor league deal, with Heilman reporting to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he’ll likely wait patiently to see if/when he gets called up

Heilman, 32, was just released by Arizona though he’s probably remembered more by Phillies fans as a reliever with the Mets.  In 32 games this year with the Diamondback, he put up a 4-1 record with an abysmal 6.88 ERA.  He shouldn’t inspire too many “Cup is ours” style celebrations but he’s a major league veteran who can serve as a stopgap while Blanton and Roy Oswalt heal up. 

Blanton is actually heading in to Philadelphia to be evaluated by Phillies team physician Michael Ciccotti, so his timeframe for return will hopefully be clarified soon.  Of course, that timeframe could be bad news, depending on what the doctor says.  It doesn’t seem like Blanton’s balky elbow is healing as well he and the team hoped.

So the Phillies are either planning to move Worley or just hedging their bets against Blanton being gone even longer.  Either way, it’s a no risk signing that could pay off down the stretch. 

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