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Victorino endorsed deal for Blanton

By Dylan Hernandez
Los Angeles Times


LOS ANGELES » The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired a starting pitcher from the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, but it wasn't Cliff Lee.

The trade they made was for Joe Blanton, the other Phillies pitcher they claimed on waivers. The Dodgers will send the Phillies a player to be named later.

Blanton, 31, figures to take the rotation spot of rookie Stephen Fife, who has made three career starts.

Manager Don Mattingly said he is unsure of when Blanton will pitch his first game for the Dodgers. Before he was traded, Blanton was scheduled to pitch for the Phillies on Friday.

Blanton has been serviceable but unspectacular this season, posting an 8-9 record and 4.59 earned-run average. His 22 home runs allowed are tied for most in the National League.

Over his last three starts, however, Blanton has a 2.74 ERA and has averaged 72/3 innings.

Shane Victorino, the Maui native whom the Dodgers acquired from the Phillies on Tuesday, blamed Blanton's record on a shortage of run support.

The Phillies got Blanton from the Oakland Athletics in the middle of the 2008 season. The Phillies won the World Series that year.

"He shored up that starting rotation for us," Victorino said. "He's capable of being that guy that's going to help you get into the postseason and continue to pitch well into the postseason."

The Dodgers were looking to add a starting pitcher, as they were forced to start Fife after trading Nathan Eovaldi to the Miami Marlins to acquire Hanley Ramirez. Ted Lilly recently suffered a setback in his recovery from a shoulder injury.

On the eve of the nonwaiver trade deadline, the Dodgers explored a package deal to get Victorino and Blanton.

"We couldn't get the combination," Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said.

The Dodgers placed claims on Blanton and Lee, who were placed on trade waivers Wednesday. They were awarded claims on both pitchers, allowing them to negotiate trades for them.

The Dodgers will be responsible for the remaining $3 million or so that remains of Blanton's $8.5 million salary.

Blanton will be eligible for free agency at the end of the season.

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