Thursday, April 28, 2011
Posted: 5:53 p.m. Updated: 6:45 p.m.
By Jim Salisbury
Injuries continue to mount for the Phillies.
The team will recall right-hander Vance Worley from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start Friday nights game, the first of a nine-game homestand.
The timing of Blantons trip to the DL is surprising in that he is coming off his two best starts of the season. He went seven innings and allowed just two runs in both starts. People with knowledge of Blantons condition said Thursday that the pitcher had been bothered by discomfort in the elbow for some time. An examination on Thursday revealed a medial impingement in the elbow.
Blanton is 0-1 with a 5.92 ERA in four starts.
Blanton wasnt the only Phillie to be examined by team doctors on Thursday. Catcher Carlos Ruiz had his back examined in the wake of leaving Wednesdays game after feeling pain while taking a swing.
The team does not plan to place Ruiz on the disabled list. His work will be limited for a few days, however. There are indications that the club will bring Dane Sardinha up from Triple-A to provide catching depth while Ruiz recovers. Brian Schneider will handle the bulk of the catching while Ruiz recuperates. It was unclear how the Phillies would make room for Sardinha on the roster, though it was possible that a reliever such as Mike Zagurski could be sent to Triple-A.
Worley, 23, emerged as a top pitching prospect last season and pitched in five games for the big club, going 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA. He was 0-1 in two starts, but allowed just two runs and seven hits in 10 innings. He was 2-2 with a 2.78 ERA in four starts at Lehigh Valley this season.
Blantons trip to the DL is retroactive to April 24, which means he could be eligible to return on May 10. His injury is expected to be treated non-surgically.
I wish we were healthier, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. lamented the other day.
Friday nights visit by the Mets will be their second trip to Citizens Bank Park during the first month of the season. The Phillies took two of three from the Mets April 5-7.
The Phillies are hopeful that Ruiz will miss just a few days. He is an outstanding commander to the pitching staff and Roy Halladay is his biggest fan. Halladay is slated to work Saturday afternoons game against the Mets.
While his work behind the plate never seems to slip, Ruiz work at the plate has slipped recently. He is riding an 0-for-22 slump. Raul Ibanez is also struggling, locked in an 0-for-26 slump.
Meanwhile, Placido Polanco continues to light up opposing pitchers. He is hitting .410 (25 for 61) over his last 16 games. That has raised his batting average to .389, second in the National League entering Thursday.
The last time the Mets were in town, the Phillies were scoring runs by the bucket load. They beat the Mets by scores of 10-7 and 11-0. Not long after that the Phils offense began sputtering. The Phils had hit .200 and averaged just 2.8 runs for a 14-game stretch before smacking 24 hits and scoring 13 runs the last two games.
Is the offense back?
Ask me Tuesday, manager Charlie Manuel said.
Pitching is the big reason that the Phils entered Thursday leading the NL East at 16-8.
Tuesday is the day that the Phils open a three-game series with the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. After that the Atlanta Braves come to town for three games to end this all-NL East homestand.
The Mets were scheduled to play at Washington on Thursday night. They entered that game having won six in a row to move to within two games of .500 at 11-13. During that six-game winning streak, the Mets hit .305 with 10 homers while averaging 6.5 runs per game.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series. Friday night: RH Mike Pelfrey (1-2, 7.23) vs. RH Vance Worley; Saturday afternoon: LH Jonathan Niese (1-3, 5.10) vs. RH Roy Halladay (3-1, 2.41); Sunday night: RH Chris Young (1-0, 2.65) vs. LH Cliff Lee (2-2, 4.18).
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