Oops, There Goes Another Injury!

First off as a journalist, I am trained to give credit where credit is due so I must say that the title, which is a play on the lyrics from the song “High Hopes”, came from my friend Jim Dailey, so Jim, thanks for the title. We always enjoy contributions from the readers here at Brotherly Love Sports.

Joe Blanton appears to be headed for the DL. He is 1-2 with a 5.50 ERA in 6 starts.

Now to business. The injury bug has once again taken a bite out of the Phillies. “The 5th Ace”, Joe Blanton, was scheduled to start last night but was scratched during his pregame warm up due to soreness in the elbow that has been plaguing him over recent weeks. Blanton was replaced by Phillies reliever Kyle Kendrick who was anything but sharp last night, giving up 2 of Jason Giambi’s career high, 3 homeruns. There was speculation that perhaps the Phillies brought Blanton back too soon and some believed that it was because the Phillies wanted to showcase him to potential suitors in the event that they needed to deal him. In any case, the team might have done themselves a huge disservice by bringing Blanton back too soon, which may kill any chance of a team being interested.

Blanton so far has not been incredibly stellar at all this season which has prompted a clamoring from the fan base for Phillies prospect righty, Vance Worley, to get a shot at Joe Blanton’s 5th spot. The fan base may see another J.A. Happ type of player who can come up and be a stellar piece to the back of the staff that opposing teams are not familiar with. The Phillies recently sent Worley back down to Triple A after he made some stellar starts and bullpen appearances in the absence of Roy Oswalt. If the Phillies, like expected, put Blanton on the DL, Worley may get a chance to take the 5th spot in the rotation during that time and could certainly pitch his way into keeping it. The issue is that the Phillies only view Blanton as a starter. They do not see his stuff as being bullpen material and thus if he loses his spot he is $7 million of dead weight. The team also sees Worley as a key piece to their future being that there is a chance that Oswalt could leave after this season and therefore they do not want Worley to lose his starters mentality by pitching out of the bullpen this year. They would rather have him in Triple A starting which is evident by the fact that Scott Mathieson is in the majors while Worley isn’t even though Worley is clearly better right now.

Vance Worley seems like the likely top candidate to replace Blanton in the rotation. Worley is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA for the Phillies over 2 starts and 4 appearances.

The injury bug went back for seconds as it appears that Shane Victorino will also need a trip to the DL. Victorino had an MRI yesterday which revealed a Grade 1 to Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring. Victorino appeared in Wednesday’s game to bunt and Manager Charlie Manuel at the time did not realize how hurt Victorino was.

Shane Victorino seems poised for the DL. Victorino was second on the team out of the regulars with a .284 BA.

Dominic Brown has been stellar in Triple A this year batting .341 with 10 RBI's and 2 HR's in 11 games played for the Iron Pigs.

At first it appeared to be a few days off type injury but now it appears to be a little more. Some have taken this news to mean that highly touted prospect Dominic Brown, who got injured in Spring Training while Brotherly Love Sports was on location in Florida, would get called up. However, that does not seem to be the case. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. made it clear that he wants to

Chase Utley has been making rehab starts in Florida with the Clearwater Threshers and appears close to making his return.

call Brown up when the organization feels that it will certainly be for good. They do not want him to be a Phillie on a temporary basis. This does draw into question what position player will get called up if not Brown. Perhaps, the team plans on calling up Chase Utley who has played well in Clearwater. Some say that he looks in very good shape and playing condition. He has hit the ball well and at this point, the hold up to get him on the Phillies is not really clear. When the team is struggling to score runs so much, it would seemingly be a no brainer to call up two players in Utley and Brown who are known for their hitting prowess. However, the Phillies are remaining patient. In Brown’s case that approach may be okay, but considering that Utley is facing an injury that could flare up at any moment, running the risk that it could happen while he’s running out an in field single for the Threshers seems like a waste. If he’s going to get hurt, he might as well get hurt here. However, the Phillies seem adamant about making sure that Utley is 100% ready to go before he dons the pinstripes again.

So as the season rolls on, so do the injuries. The team however is still right at the top of the MLB and is still considered an elite team. The question is how soon until the Phillies reach full strength. When that happens, the team that we all envisioned may finally be unleashed on the league.

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