Not a great way to start the year. It's been announced that Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge, and J.C. Romero will start the season on the 15-day DL. No surprise in the cases of Lidge and Romero, but Blanton's status is a new development. All three pitchers are expected to be ready to go by the end of April, if not sooner.
The Blanton injury shouldn't majorly impact the start of the season. Blanton projected as the 3 or 4 starter, but the Phillies had a surplus of starters as it is. The opening in the rotation allows both Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick to start the season in the rotation, though it still remains to be seen who will head to the bullpen for the long haul.
The absences of Lidge and Romero will have a greater impact. Ryan Madson should be able to handle the closer's role (though he was a bit shaky there last season), but the Phillies lack an experienced lefty arm in the bullpen. Options include Sergio Escalona, Mike Zagurski, and Antonio Bastardo. Bastardo might be the best choice, as he has the best potential to be a mainstay in the bullpen and showed promise in that role last year. Regardless of who gets the call-up, extra pressure will be put on Chad Durbin, Jose Contreras, and Danys Baez.
None of the injuries should hurt the team's long term chances of success, but it will be interesting to see how they handle the loss of three key members of the pitching staff.
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