By Matt Snyder
Joe Blanton returned to the hill for the Phillies Monday night after being sidelined with an elbow impingement. He worked five innings, allowing eight hits, two walks and three earned runs. He did strike out two hitters and pick up the win, though.
But Blanton was far from sharp and his velocity was down from when he's totally healthy -- basically where it was when he was pitching through the injury. There's apparently a reason for that.
“I think it’s still a little cranky,” pitching coach Rich Dubee said. “But at the same time I think he’s a little rusty, too. We’ll see. He’s definitely not 100 percent. He says it’s pitchable. There are certain pitches that at times he’ll feel it, and at other times he won’t. We’ll see.” (MLBlogs )
Blanton wouldn't say he was pain-free, in a seeming dodge of the question. He was asked if there was any pain, and here was his reply: "It was OK. I was able to go out and pitch."
That's like saying you aren't sick just because you went to work. One thing doesn't prove the other. Blanton could work back to good health with the rest in between starts or have the injury flare up again. We'll see.
Fortunately the Phillies have backup options in Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley. Roy Oswalt is expected to come back next Tuesday, too.
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