Joe Blanton scratched Thursday with lingering elbow issues


The Phillies made a last-second change before their Thursday evening game against the visiting Rockies, scratching right-hander Joe Blanton from his scheduled start and replacing him with long reliever Kyle Kendrick. The news comes via Dave Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News.

Blanton spent a little over two weeks on the disabled list in late April and early May because of an impingement of his right elbow. Either that injury is not fully healed or the Phillies are simply playing it safe with the 30-year-old because of the rainy conditions that are expected to hover around the Philadelphia area for most of the evening. A slick turf can often lead to injury setbacks.

Kendrick, 26, has posted a strong 1.64 ERA in 22 total innings this year despite an ugly 6/12 K/BB ratio. He’s made two starts and looked fairly sharp in both of them, but the Rockies will provide a big test.

UPDATE: According to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post, the Phillies have confirmed that Blanton is again dealing with elbow issues. It’s not yet known if he is going to need another stint on the disabled list.

Blue Jays sign Danny Espinosa to minors deal

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Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.

Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.

Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.