Phillies starter Joe Blanton landed on the disabled list in mid-May with inflammation in his right elbow.
He’s had numerous setbacks since, and now word comes from Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the right-hander is headed back to Philadelphia to have the elbow examined by team physicians.
Blanton has already paid a visit to Dr. James Andrews, who did not recommend surgery, and he’s undergone a wide range of tests on the elbow, including an ultrasound. But the lack of improvement continues, and is only getting more worrisome.
Blanton, 30, had a 5.50 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in six starts before the elbow problems creeped up on him. The Phillies, meanwhile, have been getting excellent production from fill-in fifth starter Vance Worley.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.