Joe Blanton: “There’s zero percent chance I’ll start this year”

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Joe Blanton may come back from an elbow injury to pitch again this season, but it won’t be as a starter.

Blanton told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that “there’s a zero percent chance I’ll start this year” because “there’s just not enough time” to build up his arm strength after missing the past two months.

Even a late-season return to the bullpen is far from a sure thing at this point and Blanton may need offseason surgery to “transpose” the nerve in his elbow.

According to Zolecki the operation would knock him out for around five months, so if it looks like he won’t be able to contribute as a reliever down the stretch the Phillies may decide he’s better off going under the knife now. Blanton, who started just six games before being shut down, is owed $8.5 million in 2012.