Blanton to make '10 debut Monday
Joe Blanton will officially be activated to the DL and return to a rotation in need of a healthy, effective arm Monday night when the Phillies take on the St. Louis Cardinals at CBP.
Blanton missed the first month with a left oblique injury suffered during the final week of spring training.
How badly do the Phillies need Blanton back? The non-Roy Halladay portion of the starting rotation has gone 5-5 with a 5.24 ERA.
Most of that work was done without the services of J.A. Happ, arguably the most effective left-hander in the rotation throughout the '09 season, and all of it was done without the services of Blanton, the most effective right-hander in the rotation a year ago.
The rest of the Phils rotation sets up as follows for the series against STL: Hamels on Tuesday, TBA on Wednesday, TBA on Thursday.
Interesting, huh? Halladay will almost certainly pitch Thursday, since the Phils would prefer to have him pitch every five days.
What this means is the Phillies have not made a decision on the status of Kyle Kendrick, who is 0-1 with a 7.61 ERA in five starts. He has allowed five runs or more in four of his five starts.
But with Happ still injured, the Phillies don't have a lot of options other thean Kendrick. It's still worth wondering if either Triple-A right-hander Andrew Carpenter or current long man Nelson Figueroa are more worthy than Kendrick.
Here's what pitching coach Rich Dubee said Saturday regarding Figueroa, who also has value in the pen:
"I don’t know if Figgy would be the guy or not," Dubee said. "We haven’t talked about that. I don’t know that I like him as a rotation guy, but he definitely can do a lot of things for you out there. He was the other day for a save, he can go long relief, he’s pretty resilient."
The Phils will have to make a roster move to open a spot for Blanton. It could very well mean Antonio Bastardo is sent off the Lehigh Valley.
But the Phils will have to make a decision on the rotation before Wednesday, and a Kendrick-Carpenter switch might make sense. Even if Figueroa is inserted into the rotation, Carpenter could take over long-man duties.
Then again, maybe they give Kendrick a little bit longer of a leash.