Utley Hopes to Be Back Earlier Than 8 Weeks

Thumbnail image for utley 0628 2010.jpgChase Utley‘s timetables have been accurate in the past, and he believes this one is accurate, too.

Utley had surgery Thursday for a torn ligament in his right thumb. The Phillies estimated he will miss approximately eight weeks.

He said today he could be back earlier than that.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m pretty optimistic.”

Utley broke his right hand in July 2007, and the Phillies said he needed three to four weeks to recover. He returned in four. He had surgery on his hip in Nov. 2008, and the Phillies said he needed four to six months to recover. Utley was ready by Opening Day 2009.

Utley has an appointment next week to have his cast removed, which will be replaced by a smaller cast he can remove as needed. He said he needs five weeks to let the ligament heal and one week to get his mobility back. He hopes to begin baseball activities after that.

“I would like to be playing baseball at six weeks-ish,” he said.

Utley played just three rehab games with Double-A Reading in 2007, when he missed a month with his broken hand. He went 1-for-10 for Reading, rejoined the Phillies and hit .321 with five home runs, 21 RBIs, a .397 on-base percentage and a .519 slugging percentage to help the Phillies win their first National League East championship since 1993.

Utley said because his thumb will be immobile longer than his broken hand, he might need an extra rehab game or two, but not much more.

“Yeah, I might be back before eight weeks,” he said. “Obviously, knowing that I’ve come back from an injury before and I’ve been successful, yeah, that’s good to know. I’m going to do everything that I’m allowed to do, up until the point that I play, in being ready. Once this (cast) comes off, I’ll be able to take ground balls. Obviously, keep this (hand) out of the way. The only thing I won’t be able to do is throw or hit. I’m going to try to stay in shape as best I can.”

But will Utley be back in enough time to make a difference? The Phillies have lost five of seven games since he injured his thumb June 28 in Cincinnati.

“We have a ton of talent,” Utley said. “Obviously, we’re not at full strength at this point. But I think we have enough talent and desire to overcome that. It’s going to be a tough time, but no one ever said it was going to be easy. I think we’re up to the challenge.”

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6 Comments

We’ve reached the halfway point,with 81 games played and 81 left. Here’s a projection on individual stats not simply doubled, but taking into account DL (Rollins missed most of the first half, player’s tendencies to do better in second half (Howard) and their tendency to go on a prolonged tear (Ibanez).

Rollins: R 68, HR 17, RBI 60
Victorino: R 100, HR 20, 3B 15, SB 40 RBI 100
Howard: R 103, HR 35, RBI 140,
Werth: R 101, Db 46, HR 24, RBI 93, K 162
Ibanez: R 70, RBI 90, HR 17, AVE: .265

Utley, Polanco and RUiz are impossible to canculate as we don’t know how long they’ll be out for sure. What we can see, though, is that except for Victorino, everyone is having a off year. AS if we didn’t notice that our offense sucks this year. Funny post the other day as Ken Rosenthal wondered how good a record Halladay would have if he played for a team who could hit!! Who would have believed someone would be saying the Philies don’t know how to hit??

f-i-j, you can’t be serious about Victorino. His RBI numbers are an anomaly and there is no way he will get anywhere near 100. He’s hitting .252, including .219 from the left side. All he does is hit popups from the left side. I’d hate to see what an off year would look like.

f.i.j.: You’ll have to “show your work” on some of those projections, notably, where you believe Ibanez can go “on a prolonged tear.”
In the 2nd half of 2009 Ibanez hit .232 — oops — he’s hitting .244 the first half of 2010 with a .448 slugging percentage. So, he hasn’t hit in a year.

Frankly, I think they’re all “impossible to calculate,” but I do appreciate the effort with the calculator. But, as we know, the game isn’t played on paper, it’s played on grass and dirt.

Phan: I agree that VIctorino is having an off year average wise. However, with him batting either 7th or leadoff most times, he’s been given more RBI chances and has been converting them. I don’t think his 1st half totals are an anomaly and project similar numbers for the second half.

Mule: Ibanez has had a period of @200 Abs over the past years where he’s gone on a tear. Last years beginning of the year, the year before it happened in July August. With this as a base, you have to figure he’ll raise his average by .020 overall and have the power numbers that go with it.

All that said, the game isn’t played on paper or we’d be in 1st place and would have clinched already. Part of the fun of baseball however, unlike other sports is to play with the stats and see where they go.

f.i.j.: My point was that Ibanez’ numbers are on the decline. Since his torrid first half last year he’s been a .240 hitter, and that isn’t getting it done. When you’re 37 years old those sorts of things have a way of being a “tell.”
I don’t know where those “200 at bats” are going to appear at this late stage.
Raising his average .020 is only 2 percent, and that’s hardly worthy of being on “a tear.”

muleman, f-i-j is correct about Ibanez. For 7-8 years now he has had a 50-60 game stretch where he has been one of the best hitters in baseball. Every single year. It doesn’t necessarily occur at the same time every year; you never know when it will happen. In 2002, Ibanez had a 50-game streak?June 7 to Aug. 2?when he hit .328/.385/.704 with 15 doubles, five triples, 15 homers and drove in 54 runs. In 2003 he had a 55-game stretch in which he hit .326/.360/.514. In 2004 he hit .365 over a 54-game stretch. In 2005 he got off to a dreadful start and then hit .330/.400/.524 over his next 55 games. In 2006 he hit 18 homers and drove in 57 runs in a 52-game stretch. Over the last 52 games of the 2007 season, Ibanez hit .363/.425/.652 with 15 homers. In 2008, for 55 games, from July 12 to Sept. 14, he hit .374/.435/.648 with 17 doubles, two triples, and 13 homers. Through 60 games last year, Ibanez was hitting .322/.386/.676 with 22 homers.
Last year’s streak just happened to be at the beginning of the year and there really is no reason to believe it shouldn’t happen again. It’s his MO.

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