Blanton Encouraged By His Progress

Joe Blanton allowed three hits and two earned runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Pirates. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

After a frustrating season that was considerably shortened by right elbow injuries, Phillies righthander Joe Blanton is not only glad to be back on the mound, but feeling healthy once again.

Blanton pitched 4 2/3 innings in Monday’s 4-3 exhibition win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. He allowing three hits and two earned runs. He threw 63 pitches, 45 for strikes.

Blanton pitched in just 11 games last season, eight starts. He was on the disabled list twice, first with a medial impingement in his right elbow from April 24-May 8 and then with right elbow inflammation from May 16-Sept. 4.

"Missing a big chunk of last year makes you feel better to go back to the mound and you have a different sense about yourself," Blanton said outside the Phillies clubhouse afterwards. "You almost feel like a rookie again and have that little bit of extra pep in your step."

Blanton said the best part is that he is pitching pain-free.

"I got my pitch count, threw all m y pitches and have no reservations physically," he said.

Blanton said he doesn’t know when he will pitch next, but he says he is ready to shake off last year’s disappointment.

Monday night was another step in that direction.