Phillies moving rookie Vance Worley to the bullpen for playoffs

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Last week manager Charlie Manuel hinted that the Phillies would move rookie Vance Worley to the bullpen for the playoffs and now Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the switch will likely take place following his start tomorrow.

Worley made it clear that he’d be fine with the move, but wanted some time to prepare for bullpen work, so the timing here would give him a chance to make a couple relief appearances in the final week.

Worley has been fantastic as a starter, going 11-2 with a 2.85 ERA and 108/40 K/BB ratio in 123 innings, but it’s unclear how much the Phillies will even need a fourth starter in the postseason behind Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels, and Manuel could opt to go with Roy Oswalt in that role anyway.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.