With injuries to Blanton, Romero and Lidge, are the Phillies in trouble?

After the club acquired Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays over the offseason, there aren’t too many (if any) media publications that are predicting against the Phillies in the NL East this season.

But with Joe Blanton, J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge set to start the season on the disabled list, should the Phillies be concerned?

Blanton has never been an overpowering pitcher, but he’s been a rock in the middle of the Phillies’ starting rotation since he was acquired from the A’s a couple years ago. He’ll miss anywhere from 3-6 weeks after tweaking his oblique muscle during a recent throwing session and now Kyle Kendrick (who lost out to Jamie Moyer for the club’s fifth starter spot) will take his place.

Romero underwent surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow last October and isn’t ready to return, although he is progressing faster in his rehab than Lidge. Both pitchers aren’t expected to return until mid April at the earliest.

The Phillies have to be at least a little concerned about the state of their pitching staff, because GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said today that he has maintained contact with Pedro Martinez’s agent. That said, Jarrod Washburn is available and Amaro noted that the Phils have not been in contact with him, so the club clearly isn’t in desperation mode.

The 25-year-old Kendrick won’t strike many batters out, but then again he doesn’t have to in order to be affective. The Phillies have the best offense in the National League and if Kendrick can keep the ball down and get ground ball outs, then he should be able to bridge the gap until Blanton returns. He pitched well through mid-March, before finally giving way to Moyer in the race to the be the club’s fifth starter.

While these injuries are certainly cause for concern, as long as Blanton, Romero and Lidge don’t battle nagging issues throughout the season, then there’s no reason for the Phillies to panic. It’s certainly not ideal timing that all three of these pitchers will be out at the start of the season, but at least it’s early enough in the year that Philly can bounce back if they come out of the gates slow.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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