Scratched from his Thursday start and placed on the disabled list with the same elbow problems that shelved him earlier this season, Joe Blanton will now get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews.
Meeting with Dr. Andrews is never a good thing for a pitcher and beyond that Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “the Phillies are still unsure of the problems inside Blanton’s right elbow” and “Blanton expressed some doubt as to what is going on in his elbow.”
In other words no one knows what’s going on, although at this point the decision to let Blanton pitch through elbow pain previously looks like a very questionable call for the pitcher and the team. In between the DL stints Blanton had a 5.50 ERA in six starts.
At the very least he figures to miss a few weeks and even if Dr. Andrews doesn’t discover anything that requires surgery you can be sure the Phillies will be a lot more patient bringing Blanton back this time.
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”