Posted by Frank Klose
Yesterday's update on the status of Joe Blanton was not good. Here's a Ruben Amaro quote via PhillySportsDaily:
“Blanton had an ultrasound. He has some inflammation of the nerve…He’ll have more studies tomorrow to see if there’s nerve damage.”
Nerve damage is no small issue.
While the Philly Sports Daily piece quotes Amaro as hoping that Blanton could return in the Phillies' bullpen this season (since he is not stretched out to be a starter, on "Extra Innings" 1210 WPHT, Ricky Bottalico seemed a lot more concerned.
Nerve damage, Bottalico said, could be career-threatening.
In this comprehensive essay about Tommy John surgery on 32Count, the author points out the importance of the nerve remaining healthy while doing major surgery to the arm:
Leaving the ulnar nerve in place reduces the risk of scarring or permanent nerve damage. Scarring would require a second procedure to rerelease the nerve, whereas nerve damage could leave a pitcher with permanent numbness or tingling in part of the hand, a condition that would make pitching tricky.
If this is permanent, Joe Blanton's Phillies career – and career period – could be over.