Would the Outfield Save Utley’s Knees?
Chase Utley continues to work out with the Phillies. They said today he is making progress with his chronically injured left knee, although Ruben Amaro Jr. said it is unlikely Utley will be back before the end of June.
Amaro offered a similar assessment earlier this week for Ryan Howard’s return, meaning it is unlikely either player is back before July 1.
Utley has been in the outfield occasionally during batting practice, chasing down balls as opposed to just standing around and chatting with his teammates, but he isn’t eager to discuss it. Asked a couple times about possibly playing left field in the future, he told reporters, “I haven’t thought too much about it.”
Players like Robin Yount and Chipper Jones successfully moved from the infield to the outfield, and perhaps a similar move could save Utley’s knees and keep him in the lineup. Asked about Utley possibly moving to the outfield, Amaro seemed reluctant to talk about the possibility.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s a tough thing to ask this guy. He’s never done it. I couldn’t tell you. I don’t know. It’s a tough message to send him. I know that.”
In what way?
“To ask a guy to move a position,” Amaro said. “I’m not sure whether it does take pressure off (the knee) or not, whether it changes. But it’s awfully tough after a guy who’s never really played in the outfield – he’s been in the big leagues 10 years now playing second base and however long he played in college – to all of a sudden say, hey, he’s going to play another position. It’s tough.”
Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:
- June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
- June 16: Barnes & Noble, Wilmington, Del, 2 p.m.