Thursday, April 1, 2010

Early pitching depth test: Phillies place 3 pitchers on the DL

The depth in the Phillies pitching staff will be tested early this year as the team placed 3 pitchers they are counting on in 2010 on the DL today. Two of them were expected as the Phillies finally made official what we all knew about Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero; the other was surprising considering it is Joe Blanton, who hasn't spent a day on the disabled list in his six major league seasons.

Lidge and Romero both weren't on track to start the season with the Phillies but neither is expected to be out for too long. In their absences, David Herndon and Antonio Bastardo will make the club and Ryan Madson will be the closer. The bullpen will definitely be shorthanded as the season starts.

As for Blanton, he will miss 3 to 6 weeks as he deals with a mild oblique strain. While this is good news for Kyle Kendrick, who jumps from the bullpen to the rotation, losing Blanton will be a blow, even if it's only for April. Since acquiring him in 2008, Blanton has been an anchor in the Phillies rotation, a guy that can be counted on every 5th day to go 6 innings and give up 3-4 runs. While Kendrick had a solid spring this year, there is no telling what the Phillies are going to get from him.

With Blanton going to the DL, a spot on the roster has opened up. The early word via the Phillies beat writers is that Andrew Carpenter will be called up to join the bullpen for Opening Day.

Losing Blanton hurts but it isn't crushing. He will only miss 4-8 starts right at the beginning of the year so it's hardly something that will hold the Phillies back for long, if at all. It's usually actually a good thing to get injuries like these out of the way in April and let guys get 100% healthy before they start their season. Of course, there is always the worry that an injury lingers all season long but Blanton has been nothing but healthy throughout his career so that might not be an issue with him. Lidge and Romero might be another story, though, hopefully their aches and pains don't turn them into question marks in the bullpen.


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