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.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.