Chase Utley Will Play By End Of May

11 05 2011

That felt great to say.  Utley tonight in Clearwater Florida began his official rehab start going 1-4.  Rehab assignments at the most can last 20 days.  Less than 3 weeks until Utley would have to be activated.  Tomorrow Chase and his knee will be given a day off and Utley will next take the field of Thursday with Roy Oswalt and Carlos Ruiz.

Utley, on Saturday went 5-7 in an extended Spring Training game, with 2 HR’s and some nice drives on the ball.  The thing with extended S.T. games is that you can bat out-of-order in the lineup and get someone as many plate appearances as the manager would like.  Utley who has done essentially nothing but take batting practice for 3 straight months should be dialed in on the ball right now.

The real test comes out in the field and on the base paths.  Short sudden bursts and lateral movement are what really test a knee.  It will be interesting to see tomorrow if usually media reserved Utley will give reporters any update on how his knee is feeling.  This truly is a “day-to-day” situation at every meaning of the word.  Setbacks are strongly possible, but if all goes according to plan Jim Salisbury expects Utley to return to the Phillies during the home-stand of May 16th through May 28th.

Jim Salisbury

@JSalisburyCSN Jim Salisbury
Utley to play in official minor lg. game tonite. Best bet: activated during coming homestand, 5-18 to 5-26 http://tinyurl.com/3c7zu9b
Let’s hope Jim’s right, he usually is.  The Phillies are 23-12 and have the best record in the majors, but the vibe in town is almost that of, it should be better.  Something that has been missing from the lineup is the power to the gaps which typically Utley & Werth provided, and after losing Werth to a dump-truck full of cash, losing Utley to injury was particularly painful.  Now hopefully that hole will be filled.
An option to be considered in my mind would to be considering putting Utley in the 5 hole in the lineup.  With Polanco driving in runs right now and Ben Francisco and Raul Ibanez’s averages plummeting to the toilet, Utley at 5 would give him a great opportunity.  Typically the #3 hitter is your lineup’s best pure hitter, which usually is Chase, but with Polanco right now, he would more than suffice in that role.  Placido is doing what has to be done, whether it is sac-fly’s to just hitting the ball to the right side of the infield, he’s getting the job done.  Utley, the better run producer of the two will be given a chance at RBI’s out the ass and will also better protect Howard in the lineup.  Either way, 3 hole, 5 hole, the Phillies are getting a much-needed piece back, and delivering a tough blow to the rest of the NL East.
That and the addition of Domonic Brown this or next month really should fill out the roster nicely.  Good times.
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