You can tell a lot by an article’s title. This article is about good news for the Phillies, so you know it will be very short.
Tomorrow is the day! Chase Utley will play in a real-life professional baseball game…well kinda. Utley will most likely appear at DH for High-A Clearwater tomorrow. He has been sidelined for months following the postseason loss to the Cardinals and offseason setbacks dealing with a recurring knee injury. He recently reported to spring training for extended workouts, but this will be his first live action since the 2011 playoffs. It is certainly good news for the Phillies, but there is still some waiting to do.
The Phillies will definitely employ the virtue of patience here, but teams are only allotted 20 days for a rehab assignment. This would place Utley’s return tentatively at July 3rd vs. the Mets. The Phillies could pull Utley from the rehab assignment at any time, but barring at setbacks, he should be set to return in early July. The plan remains to let him settle into a DH role until he gets his legs under him. When he shows the ability to run and field for an extended period of time in live game action, he will start at second base.
All we can do now is cross our fingers and hope there are no more wrenches to be thrown into Utley’s return plans. If he shows the ability to bounce back and take considerable time at second base, we could end up seeing Chase Utley back in the big leagues sooner rather than later. Lord knows we needed some sort of good news from the Phils. It is quite upsetting we have to get all excited about our second basemen playing DH in a High-A ballgame, but I’ve never denied an excuse to get excited about a potential Phillies’ turnaround.
Do you think Chase will return to the bigs on schedule? Do you think he can make an impact right away? Are the Phillies cooked this early?