Utley to the rescue?
Chase Utley is headed to Clearwater to begin his rehab assignment. Does that make you feel better about the Phils' chances? This comes two months after the rest of the team closed up shop in South Florida and headed north to start the regular season.
Utley has not yet appeared in a Phillies uniform, let alone a game.
Let’s put aside any feelings about what the Phillies or Utley should have been saying about his health over the winter and at the start of spring training. That’s kind of a moot point now.
It’s expected that, as he did last year, Utley will play in some rehab games in Florida and then rejoin the big club.
At least that’s the plan. The question that remains unanswered is just what kind of player that will be who is rejoining the team. Almost assuredly it will not be the feared No. 3 hitter who supplied a big chunk of the Phils’ power.
With both Utley and Ryan Howard on the shelf, the Phils have too often been forced to play from behind this season, a problem when you have to scratch and claw to score runs.
And of course the Phils simply continue to struggle in terms of pushing runners in scoring position home. They had that chance again in the ninth inning on Saturday, but failed to knock in a runner from third base and tie the game.
So we can expect to see Utley back in South Philly in a couple of weeks.
The problem remains what kind of Utley that will be.