A National League scout, who has been observing Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley’s rehab in Clearwater, is painting an optimistic picture for Utley’s impending return to the majors.
“I timed him at 4.19 [seconds] running to first base on an infield single, so if that knee is hurting him, that part is incredible,” the scout told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “You can see his timing is still a little off at the plate. He struck out on a slider against a lefthander, but that’s just a matter of him getting his at bats. He’s moving around fine.”
Even the most optimistic fans know it’s going to take Utley a little while before he can get his timing down against major league pitchers; the biggest concern had to be whether his knee was going to bother him and, according to this scout, that does not seem to be the case.
Utley is scheduled to return any day now, and the Phillies could really use him. The lineup finally broke the five-hit barrier they had been facing for five games straight, but did it by racking up an unimpressive six hits and only one run in Thursday’s loss to the Colorado Rockies.
There’s going to be a lot of pressure on Utley to get his timing down very quickly, but at least it looks like he’s feeling better physically than anyone anticipated.
In other news…
General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. said recently Brad Lidge felt good in his first time throwing from the mound since hitting the DL.
Lidge is likely to resume the closer role for this team upon his return, but Ryan Madson is definitely making Charlie Manuel’s decision a tough one.
Relief pitcher Michael Stutes also seems to be fine after straining his right side recently against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“It turned out to be a very minor thing,” Stutes said.
He seems to be the only one who can say that about an injury at the moment.