Blanton says he's ready to return to Phillies

Blanton feels ready to return to Phillies

READING, Pa. -- Joe Blanton allowed five runs in five innings in his third rehab start for Double-A Reading on Wednesday, but the Phillies right-hander believes he's ready to return to the Major Leagues whenever the team makes the call.

His pitching line against Harrisburg wasn't pretty -- five hits, one walk, two strikeouts, two home runs in five innings -- but Blanton said he was concerned more about feel than results, and the feelings he got were all positive.

"I felt like I had a lot more pitches that I could've thrown, so that's a good sign," said Blanton, who finished after 67 pitches (45 for strikes). "I feel like I had more feel today than I did in the previous outing, which is really good, especially with the offspeed pitches. I felt really good."

Blanton, who is recovering from a strained left oblique, was happy with his command despite allowing two home runs, including a long three-run shot by Leonard Davis in the first inning that cleared the picnic area in deep right field and sailed into the trees beyond.

It was a majestic blast by the 215-pound Davis, on a 93-mph fastball delivered by Blanton -- the fastest pitch he threw on the evening. His velocity stayed mostly between 87-89 mph.

"Tonight I wasn't really worried about results, I was just trying to make sure the feel on all of my pitches was good for the most part," Blanton said. "I feel like for the most part tonight I threw a lot of quality pitches."

Blanton hadn't given up a run in his two previous rehab appearances before the Davis home run. He allowed four hits in three scoreless innings for Reading on Friday and no hits in two innings for Class A Lakewood on April 20.

Speaking in the comically cramped home clubhouse after his start, Blanton called this April the longest month of his six-year career. And he's growing more and more antsy to be activated off his first career trip to the disabled list.

"I just really want to be out there and really want to be pitching [in the Majors] again," Blanton said. "It's been really hard."

The 29-year-old right-hander now has to wait to hear what the Phillies plan to do with him. If recalled to the Major Leagues, Blanton could start for Philadelphia as soon as Monday against St. Louis.

His teammate in Reading, closer Brad Lidge, pitched two scoreless innings against Harrisburg on Tuesday night and is expected to be activated off the DL before Friday's game.

Blanton hopes he's not too far behind.

"We're both definitely ready to get back," Blanton said. "I know we're both ready to get back and help the team however we can. Get back to normal everything."

Zach Schonbrun is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.