Chase Utley hasn’t been right for two years.
Now, the Phillies are taking another step to help their ailing All-Star get over the “hump.”
Utley will most likely miss Opening Day as he continues to battle tendonitis in his right knee. The 33-year-old left the team’s spring training facility Monday to see a specialist. The Phillies had expressed some hope that Utley might return to the field this week. But Utley reached a “plateau” in his rehab, according to GM Ruben Amaro, Jr.
“I would think it would be doubtful for him to be prepared to play second base for us Opening Day, but really this is about making sure that he is healthy and playing for a significant amount of the season,” Amaro told reporters Monday. “Whatever time it takes for him to feel confident, fell good about his knees, that is the important part. It doesn’t have to be today or tomorrow or next week, we have to get him feeling confident about being able to play out there without anything on his mind.”
Utley also has had problems with his left knee and missed the first 46 games last season. Amaro said doctors are treating Utley’s condition with stretching exercises. There is no procedure scheduled. And while no one is in outright panic mode, there is definitely cause for concern since Utley’s knees have been a lingering issue.
“I’m concerned with Chase,” Phils skipper Charlie Manuel told CSNPhilly.com. “I’m always concerned with Chase. Will he ever be 100 percent? I don’t know. His problem is not going away. More than likely, it might never go away.”
Rookie shortstop Freddy Galvis has been taking the majority of reps at second base this spring and is viewed as a serious candidate to replace Utley on Opening Day. Remember, the Phillies traded utility infielder Wilson Valdez. The Phils will also be without starting first baseman Ryan Howard when they open the season April 5. in Pittsburgh.