Manuel on Utley: Should Be Back Soon

The biggest mystery in Clearwater this spring is Chase Utley.

Why isn’t he playing?

Why can’t a guy that hasn’t played a game since October take fielding practice?

The Phillies had said they planned to bring along Utley slowly this spring, but they never said he would miss the first 13 Grapefruit League games or be unable to run or take grounders during BP. That has raised some serious concern that Utley’s right knee remains a problem, which isn’t a good sign considering Utley had the worst year of his career last season.

But Charlie Manuel said after today’s 6-4 loss to the Twins that Utley could see his first game action in the near future.

“I’d say it’s coming up pretty soon,” Manuel said. “It’s going to be a few days yet, but then he’ll start pushing his workouts up.”

Is there a tentative date for Utley to play?

“He’s going to get going here pretty soon,” Manuel said. “When he starts he’ll start getting some live pitching and we’ll see where he’s at.”

Honestly, I’m not sure what that means. It could mean Utley could be back in a game next week. Or it could mean Utley won’t begin participating in full workouts until next week.

The Phillies maintain they expect Utley to be their Opening Day second baseman. But will he be healthy? And effective? Utley isn’t speaking so his thoughts remain a mystery.

Just like the rest of this thing.


Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • March 19: Bright House Field in Clearwater, FL, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • April 2: Barnes & Noble in Plymouth Meeting, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 3: Chester County Book Company in West Chester, PA, 7 p.m.
  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.


Not sounding good. If they were just “resting” him then they could be more definitive. It sounds like he is hurting.

It is chrystal clear that Utley is holding up this process for whatever reason. If Charlie HAD a plan he would have said, “He’ll be playing this Saturday” or “He’ll be playing next Wednesday.” The truth seems to be that he is having problems that keep him from playing. Based on the nature of the problem, it is very unsettling…..

More telling were the comments from Jimmy Rollins about both Utley and Howard. On Howard, he said he expects him to miss the season. As for Utley, he said that it pains him to move to his right and to pivot on a double play.
ON HOWARD: “I don’t know what to think, honestly,” Rollins says. “If you ask me, with this infection, I don’t know if he’s going to play this year, because after all the work that he’s done, now he’s got to hit the reset button.”
ON UTLEY: For the second straight spring training, Rollins has gone through an entire camp without playing with his double-play partner of the past 7½ years. And while Manuel portrays Utley’s absence this spring as a matter of just “saving bullets,” Rollins is concerned about the reason for saving those bullets in the first place.

“It’s really the same thing as last year,” Rollins says. “[Utley’s knee trouble] is just one of those things where the more you use it, the more it’s going to nag you. And like last year, trying to plant and turn a double play is going to really give him problems. And going to his right and trying to throw back to first — going to get that ball and not having any legs to throw, he’s probably not going to try to make that play anymore.”

I didn’t notice any problems with Utley’s defense last year, but he is obviously a concern. He can’t hit 3rd if he has no power.
Rollins can sometimes talk too much.

With all due respect, Jimmy was on the other end of that double play combo, so maybe he knows what he’s talking about? I think Jimmy’s candor is refreshing, compared to what comes out of the General Manager’s office.

muleman, Jimmy said “hit the reset button” Ryan will NOT be starting all over. That’s ridiculous. Also the infection will eventually be taken care of, so I’m not sure why Jimmy is saying what he said, unless perhaps he trying to instill a sense of urgency for those who will make the opening day roster.

Jimmy might be right about Chase. The thing with Chase is the point in playing him at all will be for his bat. If his power is gone for good but he can still hit singles and occasional extra base hits, is it worth playing him at all if he is guaranteed to be a defensive liability?

Unless you’re a physical therapist or have some experience in the matter, I’d suggest you leave the analysis to the athletes. I’m inclined to believe what Jimmy says over anyone who isn’t in the locker room.

muleman, you are taking Jimmy’s “observations and speculation as GOSPEL and you’re telling me I have no bases for saying Jimmy is wrong about Ryan?? Come on man…..

But, but, but the 3 TV booth stooges said last season that the reason Ut wasn’t in good form is because he missed the conditioning that spring training gives. Seems that was a bald-faced lie. Unless Ruben/Charley only expect another crap season from Ut.

Jimmy is not a doctor and I’m sure he doesn’t know the details of Ryan’s and Chase’s rehabs. Why doesn’t he just say that Doc’s drop in velocity worries him? Sometimes it’s better not to say anything, especially when you have a naturally paranoid phanbase…..

Are you a doctor?

Do I have permission to call you a moron when Chase starts playing this year?

Yes, Utley and Howard’s “injuries” are of concern. However, I don’t know about you, but I kinda feel like this angst we’re having is bringing things back to normal. Last year the Phils were crowned champs before they even played a game because the elite pitching staff. Yes they did win 102 games, however, as we know they faded in the first round of the playoffs. I always felt with their premature “victory” it kinda jinxed them. Call me crazy, but this feels a bit more normal to me.

karen: Why is the word injuries in quotes? They are injuries. The word that should be in quotes is jinxed. There’s no such thing. It’s in your mind.

Way to alienate the few posters who respect you. Karen is a classy poster and the last thing she needs is YOU telling her how to post.

BTW, she used quotes to “emphasize” the fact that they ARE injured. That’s how I read it anyway, but then again, i am not making it my soul mission to correct everyone on this board.

Second of all, Karen posted “kinda jinxed”. The rest of us knows what she means.

Finally, thanks for sparing us of your criticism of Karen’s using “victory” in quotes.

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