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Chase Utley to begin minor league rehab assignment tomorrow

Jun 11, 2012, 7:20 PM EDT

Chase Utley AP AP

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock…

The countdown for Chase Utley‘s return to the Phillies’ lineup is finally upon us.

According to CSNPhilly.com, Utley will begin an official minor league rehab assignment tomorrow with High-A Clearwater. The 33-year-old second baseman began playing in extended spring training games last week, but this will be his first real game action since the Phillies lost to the Cardinals in the NLDS last October.

Utley will be eased into action as the designated hitter before testing his knee by playing the field. Position players are given a 20-day rehab window, so assuming he doesn’t have any setbacks physically, the latest he’ll return to the Phillies is July 2. This sets him up for a potential season debut on July 3 against the Mets. Look for the Phillies to give him as much rehab time as possible.

  1. randygnyc - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    You can’t assume he won’t have any setbacks. He’s been batting a lot (don’t know successfully or not), but he hasn’t been fielding, which is apparently what causes him pain. Time will tell how the daily, day to day grind effects him.

    • ebergevin - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:08 PM

      From what I’ve seen he’s been pretty solid thus far at the dish, but that’s in extended spring training. You’re absolutely right about fielding though. It’s not sure whether or not he’ll be able to handle that. I hope he can make a successful return because he’s great player and a great person.

      • CJ - Jun 12, 2012 at 11:06 AM

        it’d be nice if he can at least play 1st until howard gets back. If playing a quick twitch position like 2nd causes him that much pain, when Howard comes back he can at least come off the bench with some pop or spell howard or LF on occasion. They’re just desperate for bats at this point.

      • ebergevin - Jun 12, 2012 at 12:07 PM

        I was thinking the same. Who knows how long Howard is going to be out for? Latest reports have it sometime after the All-Star break, but that could mean July, August, September? So it’s no sure thing at this point. The Phillies’ first base collective has struggled mightily this season at the dish so it makes sense to put Utley at first base where he won’t be ranging left or right too much and won’t have to turn any double plays. I would imagine that outfield is out of the question because the constant running in the outfield may be too much for his knees.

      • CJ - Jun 12, 2012 at 12:28 PM

        I don’t think that running is the problem, else he wouldn’t even be able to run the bases at this point, and they seem comfortable enough with the to let him play in extended ST games and now DH in the minors. Running isn’t the issue. It’s the side to side movement that’s giving him trouble, which is pretty important at 2b. Not so much in OF or even at 1st.

      • ebergevin - Jun 12, 2012 at 8:11 PM

        Assuming he’s even capable of playing the outfield. You’re asking a guy who’s never played outfield in his life to play the outfield. I feel that first base would certainly be the much safer option. Chronic knees tend not to go away hence the “chronic”, Amaro had an interesting take on it as well:

        http://zozone.mlblogs.com/2012/06/01/would-the-outfield-save-utleys-knees/

  2. sasquash20 - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    We need some form of Utley back in the worst way. Injuries are killing the Phils. Next off season the Phils need to have someone monitoring him. He needs to let everyone in the organization in on what is going on with him in the off season. Because these extended off seasons he has had the last two seasons is a joke. Be a pro Chase, talk to your trainers and coaches for a change.

  3. ihatepancakes - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    Yes! This will take us from bad to mediocre!

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      How can anyone hate pancakes?

      • CJ - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        he must be a closet pie lover. Yet another reason why cake reigns supreme: cake varieties be legitimately be consumed during any meal (dessert included of course).

      • Utley's Hair - Jun 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

        Damn (pie) lovers have no shame, do they? No meal is safe from the evil (pie) crusade. CAKE will prevail!!!!

  4. captainwisdom8888 - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    im gonna consider any production from utley this season as a gift. i havent seen that signature utley “hack” in like 3 or 4 years. when he was on, i dont know who got the bat through the zone quite the form or fashion that he did

  5. mj1818 - Jun 12, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    Speaking of triple A…. The Charlotte Knights the affiliate of the White Sox just got approved for a new stadium!!

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