Blanton victorious in first start since 2013
KANSAS CITY -- There's no doubting how great Joe Blanton felt to both make and win his first start in almost two years courtesy of the Royals' 10-2 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday night.
That's not to say the 10-year veteran would recommend following in his footsteps: Taking a year off from baseball -- not even watching games on TV -- before attempting a comeback season.
"It wasn't really [my] body. I had no physical problems," said Blanton, whose previous Major League start came on July 22, 2013. "But for me it was more mental. Just kind of getting away and getting a breather.
"Not really want you want to do, take a year off, but in hindsight it turned out so far to be a pretty good thing for me."
Blanton needed 73 pitches to get through five innings, during which he allowed just one run on five hits with four strikeouts and no walks. He thought he might have another inning left in him, but the Royals' staff wanted to be cautious.
"Since he's been here, his high-water mark has been 51 pitches," manager Ned Yost said. "We'll have him ready to go 90 next start. We just didn't want to push him past that."
With left-hander Jason Vargas back on the disabled list, Blanton could prove even more valuable to the Royals in the coming weeks, something Yost especially likes to see from a veteran who went through reconditioning and a stint in the Minor Leagues just to get another opportunity.
"It says a lot about the type of competitor he is," Yost said. "Quite frankly, you get to Spring Training and you look at Joe Blanton, and even Ryan Madson, and you look and think, "OK, well, these guys, they had good careers, but do they have anything left?' It was really evident early in Spring Training that they both had a lot left in their tank."
Said Blanton: "It just feels good to be back, whether it's in the bullpen or starting."