Results tagged ‘ Joe Blanton ’

Lidge, Blanton and Romero Updates

Here is a quick update on Brad Lidge, Joe Blanton and J.C. Romero:

  • Lidge will make a rehab appearance Thursday for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
  • Blanton pitches tonight with Single-A Lakewood.
  • Romero also pitches for Lakewood, his first back-to-back outing.

Romero is further along than Lidge and Blanton. But I think the Phillies are hoping the three of them will be back following the team’s nine-game road trip.

The Pitching Picture

hamels 0418 2010.jpgCole Hamels pitched great yesterday, which almost made yesterday’s 2-0 loss to the Marlins feel like a victory.

Almost.

The way the Phillies’ rotation has looked lately, it needed Hamels to flash the signs he flashed in Spring Training, namely, that he looked like the ’08 Hamels, not the ’09 Hamels. I never thought Hamels pitched terribly in his first two starts, so I never worried. He had poor command against Washington on April 7 and was a check-swing away from allowing just one run through his first four innings against the Nationals last Wednesday. But there is no question the Phillies’ rotation needed somebody to step up other than Roy Halladay, who is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA.

Joe Blanton remains on the DL, although he could be back following the team’s nine-game road trip through Atlanta, Arizona and San Francisco. He makes a rehab start Tuesday with Single-A Lakewood. J.A. Happ (1-0, 0.00 ERA) has soreness in his left forearm and might miss his next start — maybe more. He will throw today at Citizens Bank Park. If he feels fine, he could start as early as Wednesday in Atlanta. If he doesn’t feel fine? It could be a problem. It goes without saying the Phillies need the rotation to stay healthy because the back end of the rotation is struggling: Jamie Moyer is 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA and Kyle Kendrick is 0-0 with a 17.47 ERA.

The Phillies don’t need a fifth starter until Saturday, so the Phillies can give Happ time to rest. But when Saturday rolls around in Arizona they’ll need a fifth starter. If Happ can’t pitch I’m guessing Nelson Figueroa takes the spot.

Tuesday is a big start for Kendrick. He not only is pitching for his spot in the rotation, but possibly his spot on the team. Kendrick took Blanton’s spot in the rotation, so when Blanton is back Kendrick is out. Finding a spot for Kendrick looks difficult, at least in the short term.

J.C. Romero could be back sometime during this road trip. He likely will replace Antonio Bastardo. Brad Lidge could be back following the road trip. I think the Phillies will try to keep David Herndon on the 25-man roster. (They must keep him on the roster or they likely lose him because he’s a Rule 5 Draft pick.) That means Lidge might take Figueroa’s spot in the bullpen. But if Blanton returns before Lidge, the Phillies might option Kendrick to the Minors and bring him back as the long man once they lose Figueroa. Figueroa is out of options and must clear outright waivers to send him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. As well as he has pitched, I can’t see that happening.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Blanton, Romero, Lidge and More

book.jpgWanted to pass along a note that I’ll be signing copies of my Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Borders on South Broad Street in Center City.

Hope you can stop by.

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It is ranining at Citizens Bank Park, but the Phillies expect baseball to be played.

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Joe Blanton threw 26 pitches in a bullpen session. He will throw again Sunday before making his first rehab start, most likely Tuesday with Single-A Lakewood.

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J.C. Romero will make a rehab appearance tonigh with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

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Brad Lidge will make a rehab appearance tomorrow with Single-A Clearwater.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Should You Worry About Brad Lidge?

lidge 0210 2010.jpgIf the Phillies are concerned about Brad Lidge they aren’t saying it.

Lidge made his first rehab appearance last night with Single-A Clearwater, and the results were not good. In just 2/3 inning he allowed three hits, four runs and one walk against Dunedin. It followed a March 30 cortisone injection into his right elbow, which followed roughly five Minor League Spring Training games in which he allowed at least a run in at least four appearances.

“His command isn’t there right now, but his arm speed is better, which has been the goal,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said following today’s 2-1 victory over Houston at Minute Maid Park. “He’s still got a ways to go. Health-wise he has absolutely no pain, so that’s good.”

Amaro said Lidge’s fastball hovered in the 89 to 91 mph range. He said Lidge would pitch again Monday in Clearwater.

But there are reasons why Lidge’s struggles are troubling to Phillies fans. He is recovering from November elbow surgery – he had his flexor pronator tendon and a loose body removed – and January knee surgery after he went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA, 31 saves and a Major League-leading 11 blown saves last season. And he hasn’t performed any better this spring.

Rich Dubee, who watched film of Lidge’s appearance Saturday, understands those concerned, but said he is not worried.

“Very much so,” said Dubee, asked about his confidence that Lidge can return to prior form. “He’s in Spring Training mode. Check Brad Lidge’s Spring Training numbers. Check Billy Wagner‘s Spring Training numbers. Generally, closers in Spring Training aren’t very good. Part of it is that adrenaline rush.”

Lidge had a 4.00 ERA in nine Spring Training appearances last year. He did not appear in any Grapefruit League games in 2008, when he recovered from knee surgery. He had a 12.38 ERA in eight games with Houston in 2007 and a 7.11 ERA in six games in 2006. Lidge fared well in 2004 and 2005. He had a 1.80 ERA in 10 games in 2004 and a 1.64 ERA in 10 games in 2005.

Wagner had a 5.40 ERA in nine Spring Training appearances with the Phillies in 2004 and a 6.75 ERA in 11 appearances in 2005.

“To see him have better arm speed and more velocity is a great step in the right direction,” Dubee said of Lidge.

The Phillies signed Lidge to a three-year, $37.5 million contract extension in 2008. That is just one reason they hope he rebounds in 2010. They also need depth in the bullpen. Ryan Madson currently is closing with Danys Baez looking like the setup man.

The Phillies said last month that Lidge’s cortisone injection should not be alarming because he had the elbow surgery on the inner half of the elbow. They said they gave him the shot on the outer half.

Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti said the inflammation on the outer half of the elbow was unrelated to the surgery. He also said no MRI was required and Lidge had no structural damage.

“I think you guys are making a little bit too much of the cortisone shot, I guess,” Amaro said last month. “It’s more just to get him over the hump. He didn’t have a sharp pain. It’s not related to his surgery.”

Eventually, however, the Phillies need to start seeing results.

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J.C. Romero, who also had offseason elbow surgery, has fared much better in Clearwater. He has thrown two scoreless innings in two rehab appearances for the Threshers. He is scheduled to throw again Tuesday. … Joe Blanton, who is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, continues to throw and run. He said he has made gradual improvement every day. He said he does not know when he could begin throwing off a mound. The Phillies originally estimated Blanton would need three to six weeks to rejoin the Phillies. The three-week mark would be April 22.

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I will be signing copies of my Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Borders on S. Broad Street in Center City. I hope you can stop by.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Romero, Lidge and Blanton Updates

J.C. Romero is scheduled to make a rehab appearance tomorrow for Single-A Clearwater. Brad Lidge is scheduled to throw a bullpen session. If that goes well, Lidge could be close to making a rehab appearance.

Romero is recovering from offseason elbow surgery. Lidge is recovering from offseason elbow and knee surgeries. He also had a cortisone injection into his elbow March 31.

It remains uncertain if Romero and Lidge will rejoin the bullpen before the end of April.

“I don’t think anybody is real comfortable putting any kind of timeline on things,” assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. “They’re both going to be eligible to come off the DL (on April 10). I don’t think that’s a likely scenario for any of them. We’re just going to play it by ear. I think the main thing is just make sure they’re 100 percent before we activate them.”

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Joe Blanton, who is on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, threw 60 times from 60 feet on flat ground today. He said he felt no discomfort while throwing or running.

“I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think this was an optimistic first day to throw,” Blanton said. “Things went pretty well. I didn’t feel anything on any of the throws. I didn’t feel anything running. I feel a little bit more normal. The first three days, laughing hurt, sneezing and coughing hurt. It gradually got a little better.”

The Phillies said Blanton could take anywhere from three to six weeks to recover before rejoining the rotation. Blanton said he remains optimistic he can return closer to three weeks than six.

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How did Charlie Manuel spend the day off yesterday? He took a walk with his fianc Melissa Martin in Georgetown. But with temperatures in the 80s, Manuel eventually ducked into a grocery store to cool off. Once cooled, Manuel hopped into a cab back to the team hotel. … The Phillies have not started a season 2-0 since 2003. They have not been 3-0 since 2001. … The Phillies had never hit a grand slam on Opening Day until Placido Polanco hit one Monday in an 11-1 victory over the Nationals. … Polanco’s six RBIs are a franchise record for Opening Day. Don Money had five RBIs on Opening Day 1969.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Blanton to DL Three to Six Weeks

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for blanton.jpgMore bad news for the Phillies’ pitching staff.

The Phillies announced this morning that right-hander Joe Blanton has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a mildly strained left oblique muscle.

He is expected to miss anywhere from three to six weeks. The best case scenario is Blanton rejoins the rotation sometime during the Phillies’ nine-game road trip April 20-28 through Atlanta, Arizona and San Francisco. In the meantime, Kyle Kendrick joins the rotation. Expect Andrew Carpenter to take Kendrick’s place in the bullpen.

Blanton, who has never been on the DL in his career until today, strained the muscle while throwing in the bullpen yesterday. He will not throw again until April 8 at the earliest.

“We’ll progress him as tolerated,” team physician Michael Ciccotti said.

J.A. Happ and Clay Condrey suffered similar injuries last season. Happ strained his right intercostal muscle and missed two starts in September. Condrey landed on the DL with a strained left oblique June 19. He got reinstated July 17, but landed back on the DL on July 23 and didn’t return again until Sept. 15.

Ciccotti said Blanton’s injury is milder than Condrey’s.

“His was move severe,” Ciccotti said.

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This is a blow to the rotation, but it’s also a blow to the bullpen. The Phillies already were thin with just Ryan Madson, Danys Baez, Chad Durbin, Jose Contreras, David Herndon and Antonio Bastardo. Kendrick could have pitched himself into a pretty solid role with Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero on the DL. But without him they have one less option.

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More about the Phillies’ lack of pitching depth.

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Kendrick will start Wednesday against the Nationals.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Romero Looks Sharp

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for j.c. romero.jpgThere is some concern about the Phillies’ bullpen with Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero opening the season on the disabled list. Lidge pitches in his fifth Minor League Spring Training game tomorrow, which means he might need five just more outings before he is ready to join the Phillies.

Romero pitched in his first game today at the Carpenter Complex. He looked sharp. He retired the four batters he faced, needing just 13 pitches to do it.

“Today was a big step for me,” Romero said. “I was very pleased with the outcome today. The good thing is that I was throwing a lot of strikes. My arm speed was outstanding.”

Rich Dubee said Romero’s arm speed is progressingly more quickly than Lidge’s. He said he is not concerned about Lidge.

“Two different surgeries,” Dubee explained. “Two different individuals. … Power guys, especially closers, they come a little bit slower. A lot of them come with adrenaline also. Billy Wagner was one of the best. He was one of the finest at looking absolutely awful in Spring Training. He didn’t have arm speed and he didn’t have adrenaline. Closers pitch off a lot of adrenaline.”

Romero earlier this spring said he could rejoin the team for its April 12-18 homestand against the Nationals and Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. He said he is more confident following Monday’s outing that he can be back in time for the team’s first homestand.

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Joe Blanton allowed 11 hits, 11 runs, 10 earned runs and three walks in 5 innings in a Minor League intrasquad game. He struck out two. … J.A. Happ allowed three hits, two runs and five walks and struck out four in five innings against the Braves at Bright House Field. Happ did not think he missed the strike zone by much. Dubee agreed. … Ryan Madson threw a 3-0 fastball to Eric Hinske, who hit a game-winning solo homer in the top of the ninth. Madson is 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA this spring. “He was dead today,” Dubee said. “Yeah, just a little dead. Everybody goes through stages this time in Spring Training.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Moyer Makes His Case

moyer 0321.jpgLike the rest of us, Jamie Moyer does not know how the Phillies will pick their fifth starter.

But he made a strong case for himself today at Bright House Field. He allowed five hits and one run and struck out six in five innings in a 5-4 loss to the Orioles. It was Moyer’s first Grapefruit League appearance after making three starts in B games. In a combined 14 innings, he has allowed six earned runs for a 3.86 ERA. Kyle Kendrick, his sole competitor for the job, has allowed two runs in 14 innings in four Grapefruit League appearances for a 1.29 ERA.

The Phillies said a few weeks ago that Moyer had the edge over Kendrick because of his experience.

Still true?

“I think they’ve both got two more starts,” Charlie Manuel said. “I think it’ll play out. I think we’ll do what’s best for our club and everything. I like how Kendrick has improved, but at the same time Jamie’s healthy and in the next couple starts we’ll see where he’s at.”

“Basically it’s what’s best for us and how we line up as a team,” Rich Dubee said.

If Moyer pitches well in his next two starts and Kendrick struggles, Moyer gets the job. If Kendrick finishes the spring with a 1.29 ERA and Moyer finishes the spring with a 3.86 ERA, I’ve got to think Moyer still gets the job. If Moyer struggles and Kendrick pitches well Kendrick has the edge.

And if Moyer struggles in the rotation once the season starts, Kendrick could be this year’s J.A. Happ and take his place. But it makes some baseball sense to start Moyer in the rotation: 1) Moyer is better suited for the rotation than the bullpen; 2) This gives him a chance to prove himself; 3) If he struggles and returns to the bullpen the Phillies can say they gave him a fair shot.

The edge: Moyer

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Dubee said Cole Hamels, who was scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game, would pitch tomorrow against the Yankees. Joe Blanton, who originally had been scheduled to pitch tomorrow, will pitch Tuesday. … Dubee also said Brad Lidge will pitch in a Minor League game tomorrow and J.C. Romero will pitch in a simulated game Tuesday.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Pitching Well Early

It is early in the Grapefruit League schedule, but so far the Phillies rotation has looked good.

Joe Blanton allowed just three hits in four scoreless innings today in a 4-0 victory over the Tigers at Bright House Field. Five Phillies starting pitchers have a combined 2.05 ERA in the Grapefruit League: Roy Halladay (no runs in five innings), Cole Hamels (two runs in 5 2/3 innings), J.A. Happ (no runs in 2 1/3 innings), Kyle Kendrick (no runs in 5 innings) and Blanton. Jamie Moyer, who is competing with Kendrick for the fifth spot in the rotation, has thrown six scoreless innings in B games against the Blue Jays.

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The Phillies needed just 2 hours, 5 minutes to beat the Tigers. Awesome.

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The Phillies have a split squad tomorrow in Lakeland against the Tigers and in Port Charlotte against the Rays. Here are the lineups:

@ Tigers: Jimmy Rollins SS, Ross Gload LF, Chase Utley 2B, Ryan Howard 1B, Jayson Werth RF, Ben Francisco CF, Domonic Brown DH, Cody Ransom 3B, Carlos Ruiz C. Drew Naylor, Phillippe Aumont, Jesus Sanchez and Sergio Escalona will be pitching.

@ Rays: Shane Victorino CF, Placido Polanco 3B, Greg Dobbs 1B, Raul Ibanez LF, John Mayberry Jr. RF, Dewayne Wise DH, Ozzie Chavez 2B, Brian Schneider C, Freddy Galvis SS. J.A. Happ, Chad Durbin, Ryan Madson and Danys Baez will be pitching.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Phillies Sign Blanton to Three-Year, $24 Million Extension


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for blanton.jpgRuben Amaro Jr.
sounded optimistic yesterday that the Phillies would sign Joe Blanton, Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz to contract extensions before spring training.

One down.

The Phillies announced today they had signed Blanton to a three-year, $24 million contract extension, which keeps him with the Phillies through 2012. Blanton had been eligible to become a free agent after the season. Blanton, 29, went 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA in 31 starts last season. He is 16-8 with a 4.09 ERA in 44 regular-season starts for the Phillies since he joined the team in July 2008. The team is 26-18 (.591) in those games.

Blanton will be available to the media later today. He passed his physical earlier today.

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Updated: Blanton will make $1 million in salary in 2010, but he also receives a $6 million signing bonus. That will be paid in $3 million installments in June and October. Blanton then makes $8.5 million in 2011 and 2012. He also has escalator clauses, which states he will make $8.75 million in 2011 if he throws 200 innings in 2010, and $8.75 million in 2012 if he throws 200 innings in 2011.

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