Utley Has Surgery, Out Eight Weeks
Chase Utley had surgery today in New York to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb.
The Phillies said he will miss approximately eight weeks. Hand specialist Andrew Weiland will perform the surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
Utley injured his thumb Monday, sliding head first into second base in the fourth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Utley remained in the game until he could not grip his bat in the ninth-inning.
Utley had hit .367 with one home run and 11 RBIs in his last 13 games. It’s obviously a major blow for the Phillies, but it is not unexpected. Teammates had said over the past couple days they expected him to miss a significant period of time.
Utley has done a good job in the past coming back from injuries. He broke his hand in 2007. He had surgery July 27, 2007, with the timetable to return three to four weeks. He returned Aug. 28. Utley had hip surgery following the 2008 season, with the timetable to return four to six months. He had the surgery Nov. 24, which meant he might not have been back until late May 2009. Utley was ready by Opening Day.
The Phillies traded for second baseman Tadahito Iguchi in 2007, when Utley missed a month. It would seem they need a second baseman or third baseman – Placido Polanco is on the disabled list with inflammation in his left elbow, and his timetable to return is unknown – but Proefrock downplayed the urgency to get help.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a situation where we have to go get somebody,” Proefrock said.
But he said they are talking about it. Names that have been mentioned include Ty Wigginton, Miguel Tejada and Kelly Johnson.
“We’re always looking to improve the club,” Proefrock said. “It’s a continual process. That hasn’t changed. We talk about those kinds of things every day, so maybe the focus is a little different than it was.”
Polanco got a second opinion today from orthopedist David Altchek in New York. The Phillies said he will miss three to four weeks.
“We’re not the only team that has injuries,” Proefrock said. “We’ve got a tremendous amount of talent still out on the field, and they need to step it up and do their jobs. (Wilson) Valdez has filled in very well when Jimmy (Rollins) was out at shortstop. He’s already done very well the first couple times he’s been at second base. Dobber (Greg Dobbs) has proven that when he gets to play regularly he can be a productive offensive player. He’s going to get that opportunity again. We just need everybody to do their jobs.”