Last season Joe Blanton thought he had it made; he had an easy path to a World Series ring. All he would have to do is pitch an average game once every five days, and for the rest of the time he would watch an ace pitch. However, little did he or anyone else know, his season would be short lived, because he soon became plagued by right elbow problems, and eventually went on the DL for most of the season. But those problems are in the past, and today Blanton looked very good in his spring debut. He only allowed two hits, and recorded five ground-ball outs and one strike out in two innings of scoreless work.
It was not just Joe Blanton’s spring debut as Polanco made a much anticipated start. He was able to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead early on when he singled to center to score Jimmy Rollins, who walked and stole both second and third, making Phils fans a little more confident in his re-signing.
However, the Phillies could not hold the lead for long and the Yankees overtook them in the 6th inning to go up 2-1. But, with the help of some wild pitching, the Phillies had a monster 6-run 6th inning, and that would be all they needed to get a win, 9-3.
This was a great offensive game for the Phillies as Rollins went 2-2 and helped score a run, Polanco went 2-3 with an RBI in his spring debut, and Thome finally had some offense as he went 2-3. Most of the other hits came from the minor leaguers, with one big hit coming for 3B Hector Luna when he drove in 3 runs with a double in that sixth inning. Luna is starting to open some eyes, and may be sneaking his way on to the Phillies opening day roster.
Versatile outfielder Michael Martinez, a Rule 6 pick from a year ago, hit his first home run of the season with a 2-run shot off of Juan Cedeno in the seventh inning.
There was also great pitching from Blanton and David Herndon, as they both pitched two-inning shutouts.
Tomorrow the Phillies take a trip to Dunedin to play the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 PM ET on Tuesday. Cliff Lee makes his long-awaited Grapefruit League debut. Pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Jeremy Horst, Michael Schwimer, and J.C. Ramirez will also make their first appearances of the spring.