Blanton a 'Money' move for Phillies ball
Hurler flew under radar for Beane, eating innings, saving 'pen
PHILADELPHIA -- Joe Blanton is easy to miss, despite his size. That's just fine with the unassuming Kentuckyan."I'm a fly-under-the-radar guy," he said. Maybe it's because he doesn't know any of his new teammates -- sure, he beat them last month in Oakland, something he said he now feels bad about -- but Blanton spent some of Saturday sitting quietly and reflecting. "We used to walk in the clubhouse and go, 'Shut up, Joe,'" said Marlins catcher John Baker, who came up through the Minor Leagues with Blanton. "He would never say anything." Blanton's low-key profile was raised last week, when the Phillies made him their key midseason acquisition with the hope that he'll help them in a pennant race. He'll make his first start against the Mets in Shea Stadium. Perfect. "He [broke] three of my bats down as souvenirs," Jimmy Rollins said. "Hopefully he can do that against these guys. It's a good thing that he's fresh blood in this series, a guy they haven't seen. A lot of times the advantage goes to the pitcher." The Phillies hadn't seen Blanton for three years when he limited them to one run on June 24 at McAfee Coliseum. In case you didn't stay up late that night to watch him outduel Jamie Moyer, you're likely not sure what to expect. For help, Baker provides an informed scouting report. Baker and Blanton go back to 2002, the year both were drafted by Oakland, and played together till 2004. Blanton went in Round 1 and Baker three rounds later. It was a high-profile year, as that A's draft class -- which also included Nick Swisher, Mark Teahen and Jeremy Brown -- became prime subjects of Michael Lewis' book, "MoneyBall." "That was different," Blanton said. "It wasn't as much about me. It was more about Nick Swisher and Jeremy Brown. They were the main characters. It was an honor to be mentioned. Not everyone can say that. I'm a low-key guy, so I'd rather fly under the radar. I was glad not to be a main character." Blanton is happy to play a supporting role with his new team, which has aspirations of playing deep into October. Billed as a fierce competitor and innings-eater, the burly 6-foot-3, 255-pound right-hander can succeed by maintaining that pedigree.
|"He's exactly the kind of pitcher they're looking for. He never wants to come out of a game."|
|-- Marlins catcher John Baker, Blanton's former teammate|
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.