Ryan Howard is not the only Philadelphia Phillies All-Star dealing with heath issues this spring. Second baseman Chase Utley has also not taken the field for the Phillies this spring due to lingering tendinitis in his right knee. While the Phillies are expecting Utley to be ready to go when Opening Day 2012 rolls around, manager Charlie Manuel told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that his second baseman’s knee problem “is not going away”.
Utley has what’s been diagnosed as chronic tendinitis in his right knee. This is the same tendinitis that caused him to miss the first 47 games of the 2011 regular season. The ailment has also resulted in Ultey’s absence from spring training contests since 2010.
At this point, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is saying that he expects Utley to be in the club’s starting lineup to open the season. Amaro also said that he is hoping Utley will be able to begin playing in spring training games by next week.
When Utley does take the field, Amaro said the veteran will let the team know how he’s feeling “heath-wise and performance-wise” and if he’ll be ready to go Opening Day.
For his part, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is concerned about Utley. Philadelphia’s skipper is unsure if Utley will ever return to 100 percent health, as Manuel believes the knee issues hampering his second baseman might never go away.
While circumstances surrounding Utley, who turned 33 in December, are uncertain, one thing is for sure; the Phillies infield is getting old. Third baseman Placido Polanco (36) missed significant time in 2011 due to injury, Jimmy Rollins (33) only suited up for 88 games in 2010, and we all know the Ryan Howard (32) situation.
For this reason Salisbury reported yesterday that the Phillies are rumored to be “exploring trade possibilities” for infield help. If Utley starts the season in the disabled list and the Phillies decide to go with an in-house option, look for prospect Freddy Galvis to fill in as the club’s regular second baseman.
For more on the Phillies, be sure to check out That Balls Outta Here.