Ex-Cat Blanton traded to Dodgers

Associated PressAugust 3, 2012 

PHILADELPHIA — Joe Blanton earned a World Series ring the last time he was traded. He's hoping for an encore.

The right-hander was sent from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Dodgers on Friday after Los Angeles claimed him on waivers.

Blanton, who starred in high school at Franklin-Simpson and in college at the University of Kentucky, will join outfielder Shane Victorino, who was traded from Philadelphia to Los Angeles on Tuesday.

The last-place Phillies also dealt outfielder Hunter Pence to San Francisco earlier this week.

"It was a little bit of a shock, especially since the trade deadline had passed," Blanton said. "But when you're in trade rumors, you've got to be ready to do whatever. And I was happy if I stayed. At the same time, it will be a new thing, a new adventure to go. And that's always fun."

The 31-year-old Blanton is 8-9 with a 4.59 ERA in 20 starts and one relief appearance. He is making $8.5 million and, like Victorino, can become a free agent after the season.

"He's a strike-thrower for sure, and a guy with experience pitching down the stretch," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said. "He's pitched in a tough city like Philadelphia and pitched them to a World Series, so he brings us a quality guy. You want to keep getting better, and this is a move that makes us a little bit better because it gives our staff a little more depth. He's going to be a good addition for us."

While the cost-cutting Phillies are preparing for 2013, the Dodgers entered the day Friday a half-game behind San Francisco in the NL West. Blanton bolsters a rotation that includes reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw.

"You play for the post-season and a chance to go to the World Series. And they're in a good position," Blanton said. "They have a very good team over there. Pitching against them, I know how good their lineup is. They're in a good position right now. So that's always exciting. They're fighting to win out there, and that's always exciting to be a part of."

Philadelphia will receive a player to be named or cash for Blanton. To fill the roster spot, the Phillies recalled right-hander B.J. Rosenberg (Meade Co., U of L) from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Kyle Kendrick was to start against Arizona in Blanton's place Friday night.

Blanton came to Philadelphia after a trade with Oakland in July 2008 and helped the Phillies win their second World Series title. He earned a victory in Game 4 against Tampa Bay and hit a three-run homer off Edwin Jackson.

"I remember the parade, going down Broad Street and all the fans everywhere," Blanton said. "Just the thrill of being able to come to such a baseball city. The fans have been unbelievable the whole time I've been here. I've had an amazing time here."

Blanton was 34-25 with a 4.47 ERA in 100 starts and five relief appearances with the Phillies. Since 2008, Blanton has the fourth-best winning record among all major league starters after the All-Star break at 17-6. He's 38-20 with a 3.83 ERA in 99 games (91 starts) after the break in his career.

Overall, Blanton is 81-71 with a 4.25 ERA in nine seasons. He's 2-0 with a 4.02 ERA in 10 post-season games, including six starts.

The five-time defending NL East champion Phillies have been stuck in last place since June and are dumping salaries. They've trimmed enough off their payroll to avoid having to pay the luxury tax this year.

The Dodgers have been quite active, acquiring Hanley Ramirez, Victorino, Blanton and reliever Brandon League all in the past two weeks.

"Winning teams is really all he's ever been on," said Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis, who played with Blanton in Oakland. "He'll bring competitiveness. He's a pitcher, but he competes like a position player on every pitch. We're going to be in every game that he pitches. He battles and is going to try to go as deep into the game as he can and he's going to give us a chance to win every time he goes out there."

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