Joe Blanton is active for now, but may need elbow surgery

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Joe Blanton came off the disabled list last week after missing four months with an elbow injury and threw a scoreless inning Monday as a reliever, but it sounds like he has little chance of cracking the Phillies’ playoff roster and may still need offseason surgery.

“I don’t need to show up next year and all of a sudden I’m hurt again and we’re back where we were,” Blanton told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Tommy John surgery has been ruled out, but Gelb writes that Blanton may need “a nerve procedure that could require a six-month recovery.” He’s under contract for $8.5 million next season, so if he’s going under the knife it would need to be at some point in October to make a full recovery likely by spring training.

In the meantime he’ll continue to work out of the Phillies’ bullpen and hope his elbow holds up well enough to make surgery unnecessary.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.