Utley Upbeat; No Timetable for Return

Chase Utley spoke to reporters before tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

He took BP today, and said he felt great. No pain there. He took grounders for the first time. He said he felt some pain in his left knee, but he seemed pretty upbeat.

A few highlights from the interview:

Q: Hitting?
A: Yeah, last two weeks or so I’ve been swinging the bat. No pain whatsoever, which in my opinion, is a positive sign.

Q: Fielding?
A: Still getting used to it in the field. Overall, it’s much improved since the end of spring training.

Q: Running?
A: I’ve done running. I’ve done a lot of things over the last three weeks to get me to this point. There’s still some things I need to do to get ready to play games. But I think we’re right on track.

Q: How much longer?
A: It’s hard to tell. So far, on a daily basis, I’ve been feeling good. I haven’t had to slow things down. Being here for a little longer (in Arizona) will benefit me. At some point I’ll meet with the team and continue to do more baseball stuff with the team. Then we’ll see what happens.

Q: Compare to how you felt last year at this point?
A: It’s hard to compare. I think my legs are actually stronger than they were last year. Last year, I went with the mindset of getting everything loose and not trying to make my legs tight. Right now, we’re trying to gain strength and continue to keep my legs loose.

Q: Your body language indicates you’re feeling pretty good?
A: I’m not happy that I’m not playing. I’m looking at it from a positive, like I always have. I’ve definitely gained strength over the past three weeks. I’m able to run. I’m able to take some ground balls like I did today. Fairly light but it’ll be a progression to make them tougher. Hitting wise, it was uncomfortable during spring training. Right now it’s not.

Q: You said in spring training you felt less pain this year than last year. Last year you came back around May 23. Could you back before June 1?
A: I’d like to be back right now. I have to listen to my body and right now it’s telling me to continue to move forward with the things I’m doing. I don’t want to put a certain date on it because I don’t want to force something that’s not ready to happen. When my knee is ready to go, I’ll be out there.

Q: Can you be productive once you’re back?
A: I think the whole thing is trying to get my legs stronger and if I continue to build on that I think I’ll be alright.


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Pingback: Utley Takes Fielding and Batting Practice « TTB

8 questions and 3 answers (the first three). The rest of them are vague responses or non-responses to specific issues. What, exactly, did we learn yesterday that we didn’t already know?

Utley has been my favorite baseball player since he was called up. However, I have to admit he sounds like he’s being a big wuss right now. He says he’s batting and running with no pain. So? Get on the damn field and play! Start out with pinch hitting, playing first base, etc… His knees need continued strengthening and he will probably have some degree of pain the rest of his career. He’s no longer a rookie – stop coddling him. Get him on the field and play through it.

Andrew, thats the stupidest thing ever. if you want chase to play now, do poorly and risk the rest of his career, you’re an idiot. I’d rather see 5 more years of good/decent Utley that 2 years of a hobbled, struggling Utley.

However, if there is one thing he is good at, it’s not answering questions. his avoidance of the second to last question was remarkable.

The hard question to ask is, “Were you misdiagnosed and/or undiagnosed?” It was called patellar tendonitis all last year. This year we hear it wasn’t that at all, but is chondromalacia, a chronic cartilage condition that is acquired over years (and hence was undiagnosed for years.) I suspect he was, at least, misdiagnosed and given the wrong (i.e. useless) regimen. Blanton was also misdiagnosed multiple times last year until someone finally got it right with nerve impingement. Is the Phils’ medical staff up to the task? Doubts abound.

Good point Xyzzyx. Chondromalacia can be treated but I believe tendenitis can be chronic. However, he should have been strengthening his knees all along anyway. What does he get paid for? What do they pay the trainers and therapists for? Regardless, if he’s feeling no pain now, give him a short rehab start and then put him in at 1B until Howard returns. If he hits, good. If he doesn’t, its the same thing we got now. I doubt it would mess up his whole career, especially since he hasn’t played in 6 months now. I can see this whole thing dragging out until June like it usually does at which point we may still be looking at the bad side of .500

I’m off the Utley bandwagon. Two years running, spring training surprise “I can’t play”. Tell ya what Chase, you make good money, spend some on second/third opinions (it is YOUR career after all) and get with trainers that can make sure you do what you need to do in the off season. Very disappointed in your whole approach and right now you look like a guy who is willing to skate by and collect your money and retire at 35.

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