For the Philadelphia Phillies this season, the injury bug has taken the team by storm. Nagging injuries to pitchers, such as Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras, Ryan Madson, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels, and everyday starters, like Chase Utley, Placido Polanco, and Jimmy Rollins, have created roster issues for the Phillies.
Who to bring up from the minors, who to start in place of an injured player, and so on, have made it extremely difficult at times for the Phillies to come up with replacements, despite their lack of experience or production.
However, there has been a bright spot or two, and one of them has been rookie pitcher Vance Worley. Originally called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make a spot start for the injured Blanton on April 29, Worley, now known by Phillies fans and teammates alike as the "Vanimal," has unexpectedly become a permanent member of the Phillies rotation.
While Blanton did make his way back to the rotation and started two more times, he was sent back to the DL after on May 16, and he hasn't been on the mound since.
Although Worley was sent back down to Triple-A in May after losing two straight starts, receiving a no decision in one and a loss in the other, Worley was recalled for a June 18 start and he hasn't looked back. Since then, the Phillies have won his last 13 starts, the most in a row for any pitcher in five years.
Worley is no temporary fill-in. He's now a part of the Phillies. And here's why.