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.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.