Joe Blanton has elbow inflammation, shut down 3-4 weeks

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The Phillies sent starter Joe Blanton to Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday in the hope of getting some answers about what is continuing to cause discomfort in the right-hander’s throwing elbow.

Those visits can sometimes lead to a recommendation of Tommy John surgery.

This one did not.

According to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, Blanton will avoid surgery but can’t begin a throwing program for another 3-4 weeks. He will struggle to return to full health before the All-Star break.

Blanton has posted a 5.50 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in six starts this season as the Phillies’ fifth starter. Vance Worley has assumed that role for the time being and has pitched pretty well in a small sampling. With a stacked top four in the rotation and a lineup that is getting healthier, the Phils only need an innings eater.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.

Rays activate Kevin Kiermaier

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The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.

Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.