Phillies’ stacked rotation means rookie Vance Worley may be in playoff bullpen

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Everyone expected Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels to be amazing this season, but injuries to the rest of Philadelphia’s rotation opened the door for Vance Worley to claim a full-time spot and the 23-year-old rookie has responded by going 11-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 117 innings.

On many teams that would put him in line to start Game 1 or Game 2 of the playoffs, but with the Phillies he may not even be in the postseason rotation. And he’s OK with that.

When asked yesterday about Worley’s likely October role manager Charlie Manuel was uncertain, but Worley told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that he’s fine doing whatever job is needed: “I’m just glad to be here. I don’t really care what my role is. I’m just glad to be able to contribute.”

Which is exactly what you’d hope a 23-year-old rookie would say, although Worley did add that he’d prefer to prepare for a bullpen role by working strictly as a reliever rather than bouncing back and forth.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.