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.
Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.
Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.
“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”
Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.
Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.
“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.
Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.