July 25, 2016
As expected, the Phillies placed reserve infielder Andres Blanco on the disabled list on Monday – a day after he suffered a fractured left index finger when Pittsburgh's Gregory Polanco slid into his glove hand.
Blanco, called repeatedly this season by manager Pete Mackanin as the best utility bench player he's ever seen, isn't likely to return until at some point in September. A free agent at the end of the season, Blanco was a dark horse to take his versatile skills elsewhere before the trade deadline arrives a week from tomorrow, but obviously his injury means that's not longer a possibility.
Blanco will undergo surgery this week, Mackanin told reporters in Miami:
Blanco's scheduled for surgery Wed. on fractured left index finger. Will have pin inserted. Mackanin optimistic he might be back in 6 weeks.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) July 25, 2016
Blanco will be replaced on the active roster by Taylor Featherston, a 26-year-old infielder whose skill set isn't all that different from the man he is replacing. Featherston, known for his defense more than his offense, played at least 20 games at second base, third base, and shortstop for the Los Angeles Angels last season.
Featherston was hitting .264 with 12 home runs and a .320 OBP in 87 games at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season.
With the promotion of Featherston, the Phillies obviously didn't feel like top prospect J.P. Crawford was ready (although a Crawford promotion would involve more roster shifting, as he would be promoted to start at shortstop, and not fill Blanco's void at a utility man like Featherston). Crawford is still likely to arrive to the big leagues before the end of the season.
Jesmuel Valentin, a former first-round pick acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Roberto Hernandez trade two years ago, was promoted from Double-A Reading to Lehigh Valley to take Featherston's spot on the 'Pigs roster.
In other injury-related news: outfielder Aaron Altherr had his minor league rehab assignment transferred from Double-A Reading to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Monday. Altherr could join the Phillies later this week.
More minor league news: Scott Kingery, 2015 2nd round pick, promoted to Double-A Reading today. Ditto hard-throwing reliever Jimmy Cordero.— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) July 25, 2016
Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21