Happ Experiences Set-Back

PHILADELPHIA – Phillies starting pitcher J.A. Happ is still unsure of where he is physically after his setback on Friday when throwing off a mound.

He was back to throwing on flat ground Monday. Happ, who suffered a left forearm strain early in the season, is confident there is no structural damage and that he can get back on track with his rehab. He didn’t have a timetable for his return.

“I could kind of tell from the beginning that the long-toss wasn’t as good as it was the day before,” said Happ of his Friday workout. “It might be as simple as we might work with the amount we worked with the day before. Maybe I’m just not responding quite as well. Just trying to get the ball down in the zone that extra bit on the slope wasn’t the best. We’re going to try again.”

Happ has been on the DL since April 16 and has been working to get himself ready to throw in game situations.

“I feel good at where I’m at right now,” Happ said. (My next step) is to continue long toss. We’re only at 60 feet, but hopefully we can throw off the mound again soon and see where I’m at from there.”

Happ had a great rookie season last year in which he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting to Chris Coughlin of Florida. He posted a 12-4 record and 2.93 ERA.

This season, Happ was 1-0 in two starts and hadn’t allowed an earned run in 10 1/3 innings pitched before the injury. The setback has left him frustrated, and the Phillies are hoping his return can bring relief to a starting rotation struggling to go deep in games.

“It’s certainly a frustrating thing,” Happ said. “It’s as frustrating as anything. You want to go and come in here every day and expect everything to feel great, but unfortunately that’s just not the way it is. We’re doing everything we can and I expect to get back soon.”

BLANTON’S RETURN: Joe Blanton was glad to get back to work after missing the first month of the season with an oblique injury.

He felt good in Monday’s 6-3 loss to St. Louis in which he allowed four runs in 6 2/3 innings of work in his first start of the season. Blanton gave up just one run in his first six innings.

“I felt really good. I didn’t have any effects on the oblique and I haven’t had any today,” said Blanton on Tuesday. “My arm is fine and I feel 100 percent normal.”

Blanton threw only 94 pitches but he felt he could throw over 100 easily. He doesn’t feel that he will be limited in his next start.

“It felt like a normal game,” he said.

Blanton’s return to the Phillies was important for a starting rotation that has struggled all season to go late in games with the exception of Roy Halladay. The Phillies are 1-11 when Halladay isn’t pitching and they score less than seven runs.

“This game is all about pitching. Since he’s been here, Blanton’s done a great job,” said manager Charlie Manuel. “That’s why we signed him to a contract. He pitched real good and I was obviously pleased with him last night.”

TASED FAN ALL THE BUZZ: The Phillies fan that ran on the field was Tasered by Philadelphia Police on Monday night was the talk around the league. Both locker rooms were talking about it and some of the players were joking about it before the game.

“I just think it’s unacceptable (to run on the field), a pretty scary situation,” said Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. “The players are out on the field and someone comes at them, and you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Jayson Werth walked into the clubhouse and exclaimed, “Don’t Tase me, bro!” while Shane Victorino was talking to reporters about being afraid of being in the way of the Taser gun.

“Bottom line is you’re not supposed to run on the field,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “You don’t want to know what I would do, or want to do to him. It wouldn’t be good.”

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