Utley Moves Forward


Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley will begin his rehab assignment Tuesday night with Class A Clearwater.

Utley, who has been seeing limited action at extended spring training, hopes to take the next step towards returning to Philadelphia tonight.  The second baseman will DH for the single A club tonight, hoping to get as many at bats as he can during his rehab stint.

The team wanted to start Utley with their extended spring club so that they could have control over his playing time and the situations he was in.  By beginning his rehab start Tuesday, the team is signaling that they hope to have the second baseman back by the end of this month.

Tuesday will start a 20-day rehab clock for Utley.  If he remains on a healthy track, he can be activated no later than May 30th.  If he were to face any setbacks with his knee, the clock can be appealed and put on hold.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. laid out the team’s thought process regarding Utley with these comments.

"“He feels like he’s ready to progress,” Amaro said. “This doesn’t mean he will play every day, but as long as he’s going good, he’ll have an opportunity to play, and we’ll continue to try to progress him.”“He doesn’t have to take the full 20 days,” Amaro said. “Again, we don’t have any timetable for him. If something were to happen and we had to send him back, that would be unfortunate, but clearly he feels well enough physically to move forward. As long as he’s feeling well enough to do that, it’s all positive.”"

Utley’s return would certainly improve a Phillies lineup that sits top 10 in the league in several offensive categories.

Wilson Valdez, who has been making most of the starts at second for Philadelphia, plays solid defense but has only managed a line of .247/.282/.296 this season.  The Phils hope to replace Valdez with Utley and his career line of .293/.380/.514 and make their lineup that much more formidable.