Chase Utley headed to Arizona as Phillies open the season

The Phillies will travel to Pittsburgh on Thursday to open the 2012 regular season.

Chase Utley will not be there. He’ll be in Arizona.

Utley will be one of five Phillies players beginning the season on the disabled list, along with pitchers Justin DeFratus and Jose Contreras, infielder-utility player Michael Martinez and first baseman Ryan Howard.

Utley will keep rehabbing his knees with physical therapist Brett Fischer in Arizona.

“We’re looking forward to getting him back as soon as he starts to feel better,” Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said before last night’s exhibition game against the Pirates. “He’s progressing well in his workout program, so he’s going to go out there and start on that.”

Amaro won’t put a timetable on his All-Star second baseman. Utley hasn’t done any baseball-related activity since early spring due to his chondromalacia.

“I’m not sure quite how long he’s going to be there, but it’s kind of more intensive one-on-one work,” Amaro said.

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