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Right elbow inflammation sent Vance Worley to the 15-day disabled list, pausing what has been a sparkling campaign.
It's justifiable to doubt a K/9 of 9.20 when the swinging strikes haven't been there; he's inducing an uninspiring 6.3 empty-hack percentage. His slider, however, has been his most effective whiff offering, and his two-seam fastball command has been outstanding. He knows how to locate without overpowering. Worley's quicker pace is also keeping hitters off-balance, and his diverse arsenal has produced a noteworthy increase in grounders (39.3 percent in 2011 to 47.9 this season.
Though leaving an above-average number of ducks on the pond looks like it could be a legit long-term pattern for him, an LOB percentage of 89.6 is quite bloated for a starter, so that should normalize later in the year. Still, this is a maturing arm that's worth stashing in all formats through his injury.
Kyle Kendrick, who had a successful late-2011 run, will step into Worley's spot Wednesday at the Chicago Cubs (risky, although the Cubbies struggle at home) and, if he holds, Monday versus the Washington Nationals (a worthy deep-league stream considering his success against them in the last two seasons).
Kendrick's K/9 is up a touch, but he's allowing more liners than usual, and he's walking a bit too many; control carries his approach and if erratic jeopardizes his deep-mixed value. Elbow injuries can linger, though, and if Worley's turns out to be serious, Kendrick has a shot at extended duty.
Still, the Phils don't have many useful alternatives to the innings eater they know and sometimes love. At Triple-A Lehigh Valley sit Scott Elarton, Dave Bush and David Purcey. Elarton has a 2.39 ERA in 37 2/3 frames there and probably would be next, but, like Kendrick, he paints the black instead of dominating and is overall blah.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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