Utley Could Be Headed to Clearwater Soon
He played in his second simulated game in three days today at Citizens Bank Park, and said it went well. Utley has been on the DL since the season started because of tendinitis in his right knee, but Charlie Manuel said Utley might be ready to take an important step in his return.
“It might be time to let him go somewhere, like Clearwater or something and start getting into a broader, bigger routine,” he said.
Utley said nothing has been decided, but added, “I’m getting closer, let’s put it that way.”
Ruben Amaro Jr. said through a team spokesperson, “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and then see what the next step is.”
Utley’s next step likely would be extended spring training in Clearwater. Utley would have the opportunity to face live pitching – pitching coach Rich Dubee threw him batting practice Sunday – against the organization’s Minor League prospects. He also would be able to test his knee more vigorously.
If that went well Utley eventually would begin a rehab assignment.
Asked if he still feels pain in his right knee, Utley said, “I think we’re making some progress. We’ll have to see how tomorrow goes and go from there.”
“He felt some soreness, but at the same time that might be expected,” Manuel said.