Is Chase Utley Ready to Return?
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Thursday that Chase Utley could come off the disabled list next week if all continues to go well with his rehab assignment.
Utley is 5-for-23 (.217) with High-A Clearwater during his rehab assignment and has begun playing second base in recent days. His 20-day rehab window comes to a close July 2, but he appears to be ahead of schedule at the moment.
The question is what will the Phillies do with Utley when he is ready to return to the team? Will he play everyday, will he play full games in the field.
My guess is that when Utley returns he will return and play all the time, everyday, every inning. It really is the only way he knows how. The Phillies need more than his bat, his leadership and presence in the line-up. The production at second base has been horrific so far this season, hopefully Utley is better then the .259 hitter he was last season.
In 2004, a young Utley hit .277 with 13 home runs and 57 RBI in 94 games. If the 2012 version is similar to that, the Phillies might have a legitimate spark coming to the line-up over the final 91 games.