Joe Blanton returned from the disabled list last night with a win, allowing three runs in five innings against the Marlins in his first start since April 26, but said afterward that his elbow still isn’t totally healthy.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee agreed, telling Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that Blanton’s elbow “is still a little cranky” and “definitely not 100 percent.”
According to Dubee “there are certain pitches that at times he’ll feel it and at other times he won’t.”
Neither Blanton nor Dubee seem particularly worried about his status, but Zolecki writes that “it certainly seemed like the elbow bothered him” while allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks over five innings in what was hardly an impressive return start.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.