Surprise! Joe Blanton to the DL

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For the National League East leading Phillies, the hits just keep on coming, as news came down Thursday that pitcher Joe Blanton (the fifth man on a rotation of FOUR aces) is heading to the disabled list with an injury to his right elbow.

David Murphy from The Daily News with the scoop:

Just got word from the Phillies that righthander Joe Blanton has been placed on the disabled list with what the team is calling a medial impingement of the right (throwing) elbow. No immediate indication on the severity of the injury, but righthander Vance Worley has been recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start against the Mets tomorrow night.

It's terrible news for Blanton, who is coming off a pair of seven inning, two-run starts following a rough start to his season, and even worse news for the Phillies, who are going through a tough week thanks to an injury to closer Jose Contreras and the temporary absence of Roy Oswalt.

Fortunately, Worley is a more than capable replacement. He made his big league season debut last season and spent time as a starter and a reliever, finishing the year with a 1-1 record with 12 strikeouts and a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings pitched. At Triple A Lehigh Valley this season, he's 2-2 with an ERA of 2.78 in 22 2/3 innings, over which he's struck out 25 and walked six.

As for when Blanton could be back on the hill? The Inquirer's Matt Gelb talked to GM Ruben Amaro, Jr.:

There is no timetable on a return for Blanton, but Amaro does not expect it to be a prolonged absence.

"We just don't know," Amaro said. "It'll be a shorter one. We'll find out. We're generally pleased with the MRI."

In other, more hopeful news,'s Jim Salisbury tweets that catcher Carlos Ruiz, who left Wednesday's game with tightness in his lower back, will not need to take a trip to the disabled list.

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