Rich Dubee said he wanted honesty from Joe Blanton, who attempted to pitch through elbow soreness and has landed on the disabled list twice. Blanton, who has never had elbow problems in his life, said he wasn't lying: He thought he could overcome the pain without significant rest.
"That's the mistake I made the first time," Blanton said. "I don't like missing starts. That's my thing. I feel like if I can pitch through it, I don't have to be 100 percent."
But more and more it is apparent that Blanton is nowhere near being healthy. Vance Worley will start Tuesday against the Reds, taking Blanton's spot. And the rookie Worley could be in the starting rotation for quite some time.
There remains a degree of uncertainty as to what is wrong inside Blanton's elbow. The righthander will undergo an ultrasound Tuesday in Philadelphia before visiting renowned orthopedist James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., on Wednesday.
Those are words no pitcher likes to hear - Andrews is one of the leading performers of Tommy John surgery - but two MRI exams on Blanton's elbow have shown no torn ligaments.
Blanton will be completely shut down for at least two weeks, maybe three. He will need more time to build up arm strength and then throw in minor-league rehab games, something the team did not pursue in his previous DL stint. So Blanton figures to miss at least a month.
And that timetable is dependent on nothing significant being revealed during the tests in the coming days.
"It's still kind of up in the air," Blanton said.
Blanton was diagnosed with impingement (damage to soft tissue in the back of the elbow joint), and that has led to tendinitis and inflammation in other parts of the elbow. More examination could reveal whether there is something greater at hand.
He said he first started experiencing the soreness after his first start of the season. Blanton spent 16 days on the disabled list, made two more starts, and then was scratched shortly before the first pitch on Thursday.
"Nothing was working in my arm," Blanton said. "Nothing was firing. It was almost like I couldn't throw."
That is what is most discouraging for the pitcher, who said he felt some improvement immediately after coming off the DL. But that was fleeting.
In six starts, Blanton has a 5.50 ERA. He is making $8.5 million this season and next, the final year of his deal.
The 23-year-old Worley has been impressive in his four appearances (two starts). He has a 1.13 ERA (two earned runs in 16 innings) and was used in various roles by Charlie Manuel during his last call-up.
But now Worley will be relied upon as the team's fifth starter for the foreseeable future.
"I like him," Manuel said. "Why shouldn't I like him? . . . I've got confidence in him. I know he can pitch. We like him. I like everything about him."
Righthander Jose Contreras was scheduled to pitch in his final rehab outing at triple-A Lehigh Valley on Monday night, but the IronPigs' game was rained out. So he'll start Game 1 of a doubleheader for Lehigh Valley on Tuesday morning.
That means the Phillies will likely activate Contreras on Wednesday, provided everything goes smoothly. The righthander has been out since April 21 with elbow soreness.
Contreras will likely slide into the eighth-inning role rather than the closer's spot he had at the beginning of the season. Manuel has said he sees no reason to remove Ryan Madson from the ninth inning.
Ruben Amaro Jr. said Shane Victorino (strained right hamstring) could need only the required 15 days on the disabled list. He is eligible to be activated June 3. . . . The general manager said Scott Podsednik, signed to a minor-league deal Sunday, will head to Clearwater, Fla., for extended spring training because he has not played in a while. "If we falter at the big-league level or continue to have as little success as we've had offensively," Amaro said, "and if he's playing well, he might be somebody we'd consider."