Blanton to start season on 15-day DL

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Philadelphia Phillies got some bad news about their pitching staff on Thursday, learning starter Joe Blanton,
closer Brad Lidge and reliever J.C. Romero all will start the season on the 15-day disabled list.

Blanton was placed on the DL because of a mild left oblique strain and could be out three to six weeks. He suffered the injury while throwing a side session Wednesday.

Phillies team doctor Michael Ciccotti said Thursday that if all goes well for Blanton, "we're looking at the earliest at the third week of April."

Lidge and Romero, both of whom are recovering from offseason surgery, were placed on the DL retroactive to March 26. They could come off the DL on April 10.

Blanton, who hasn't been on the DL in six seasons, was projected as the No. 3 starter behind Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels.

Blanton's most recent spring outing came in a minor league intrasquad game Monday, when he allowed 11 runs and 11 hits in five innings.

Blanton was 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA last season. He signed a three-year, $24 million contract extension during the winter.

Lidge, who struggled last season after a dominant 2008, received a cortisone injection in his surgically repaired right elbow Tuesday after pitching in a minor league game. He had surgery on his elbow in November and was not expected to be ready until mid-April at the earliest.

Romero, who had left elbow surgery in October, made his first appearance of spring training in a minor league game earlier this week. He has set the Phillies' home opener on April 12 as his goal to join the team.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.