Aug 17, 2010, 10:15 AM EST
Out since late June following surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, Chase Utley has finished a brief minor league rehab assignment and is expected to return from the disabled list tonight against the Giants.
Utley went 3-for-12 with two extra-base hits in four games rehabbing at Single-A and will be examined by doctors this morning, with the assumption being that they’ll clear him to play.
Wilson Valdez has started 33 of 43 games at second base in Utley’s absence, hitting just .248 with a .297 on-base percentage and .349 slugging percentage for a .646 OPS that is 252 points below Utley’s career mark.
Despite that dropoff in production the Phillies have gone 26-17 (.605) without Utley, which is actually better than their 40-34 (.541) record before he went down, and during that time they’ve trimmed the Braves’ division lead from 3.5 games to 2.5 games.
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