Results tagged ‘ Chase Utley ’

Utley Could Be Back Soon

Chase UtleyChase Utley said today he believes he can rejoin the team by the middle of the month.

“Yeah, it’s realistic,” he said.

Utley has been on the disabled list since May 21 with a strained right oblique. He said he already feels he can take a few swings with the bat, but will wait a little longer to avoid any chance of a setback. A strained oblique can be finicky.

“I am definitely feeling better,” he said. “I’m hoping to take some swings in the next three or four days, and at that point I’ll probably know where I’m at.”

Utley expects he will need some sort of rehab assignment, but it might be locally.

“We haven’t talked about it, but I don’t think Clearwater is in the plans,” he said.

But a rehab game in Double-A Reading or Triple-A Lehigh Valley might be.

“Possibly, yeah,” he said.

Brown Is Hot, But Not on Ballot

Domonic BrownDomonic Brown is one of the hottest hitters on the planet, but he is nowhere to be found among the leaders in votes for the National League All-Star team.

MLB just announced the top five players at every position, including the top 15 outfielders.

Brown is not among the top 15. I guess that isn’t a surprise. While Brown is hitting .329 with six doubles, two triples, 15 home runs, 36 RBIs and a 1.053 OPS since April 23, he only truly has gotten everybody’s attention in the last 10 games. He is hitting .447 (17-for-38) with one double, one triple, nine home runs, 17 RBIs and a 1.712 OPS in that stretch. Combine that late surge with lower attendance at Citizens Bank Park and Phillies fans not exactly excited about their team — thus they are not stuffing the ballot box like they have in the past — and Brown seems destined to the make the team as a reserve.

Chase Utley is the only Phillies player to be listed among the leaders, but he is a distant third among second basemen.

Utley Needs More Time to Heal

Chase UtleyThe Phillies said last week Chase Utley’s strained right oblique would take two to four weeks to heal.

They were optimistic he would need just two.

But Utley still feels soreness in the oblique, so they said today he is going to need more time.

“It’s just an injury that’s tricky, so we have to be real careful with it,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “He still feels tenderness in there, so we’ve got to be careful not to let it get to the point where it becomes even more of an injury. We’ll just slow play him until he’s ready.”

Asked if Utley had a setback, Amaro said, “No, not to my knowledge he hasn’t had a setback. He’s just still tender.”

Utley has not played since May 20, which makes him eligible to be activated June 5. But that won’t happen.

Utley to DL

Chase UtleyIt seemed a certainty Chase Utley would land on the disabled list this week.

The Phillies confirmed this evening he would.

They announced Utley, who felt a burning sensation on his right side when taking swings during batting practice Monday in Miami, will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with what they have called a “very mild” Grade 1 strained oblique. They said there is no intercostal or ribcage injury. He is eligible to be activated June 5.

The Phillies selected infielder Michael Martinez’s contract from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take his place on the roster. Martinez has hit a combined .188 with a .512 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in parts of two seasons with the Phillies. He has hit .226 with a .570 OPS with Lehigh Valley this season.

Ruben Amaro Jr. said the typical recovery for this type of injury is two to four weeks.

“We do believe and hope that Chase will be ready to play in Philadelphia within 15 days,” Amaro said in a statement.

(more…)

MRI Scheduled for Utley, Won’t Play Tonight

Chase UtleyChase Utley knows he needs to be smart about this.

He felt a burning sensation in his right ribcage taking swings in the batting cage before last night’s game at Marlins Park. He got scratched from the lineup a short time later, will not play in tonight’s series finale against the Marlins and will have a MRI exam tomorrow in Philadelphia.

It seems likely Utley will miss time with a trip to the disabled list a good possibility.

“It definitely scared me a little bit,” he said today. “My first swing I took in BP, I felt something. My second swing, I felt it again. My third swing, I felt it again. After the fourth swing, I realized something wasn’t right. That’s when I told Charlie (Manuel) I have some pain in my side. He told me to go see (head athletic trainer) Scott (Sheridan). He took me out of the game. I think it was a smart thing to do. You want to be careful with these things because they could linger and get worse if you try to play through it. I think we caught it early enough but it’s hard to know until we have some imaging on it.”

Utley said he felt about the same as yesterday, not great, but not terrible.

“It’s kind of in between,” he said.

Utley has spoken with teammates and former teammates who have had similar injuries in the past. Several Phillies pitchers have spent time on the DL in recent seasons because of strained obliques, but so have position players like catcher Carlos Ruiz and former outfielder Jayson Werth. Ruiz spent 23 days on the DL in 2009, while Werth spent 15 days.

“The main thing they said was, ‘Don’t rush back,’” he said. “That’s when you can make it worse and prolong the time you’re out.”

Utley has been one of the team’s few bright spots this season. He is hitting .272 with seven doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 25 RBIs in 44 games. He has an .814 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, which ranks seventh out of 20 qualifying second basemen in baseball. He has missed much of the previous two seasons because of chronically injured knees, but the knees have not been an issue so far.

“I just hit into a little bad luck,” he said. “I have felt pretty good. Hopefully this is just a small bump in the road.”

*

Roy Halladay reported to Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., two days ago to begin his rehab following right shoulder surgery. “He’s feeling like he’s got pretty good range of motion, which is a plus,” Amaro said. “I talked to him yesterday. He’s very positive.”

*

Mike Adams threw a bullpen session today. He will throw another one Friday in Clearwater, Fla., before pitching in a rehab game Monday with Class A Clearwater. He would be activated Tuesday at the earliest.

*

John Lannan is scheduled to throw May 29 to hitters in Clearwater. Amaro said “he is doing very well. He feels good.”

Utley Scratched from Tonight’s Lineup

Chase UtleyJust another health issue for another Phillies player.

Chase Utley had to be scratched from tonight’s lineup because he felt discomfort on his right side during batting practice. The Phillies said Utley will be reevaluated tomorrow.

Freddy Galvis took his place at second base.

Utley has been one of the few bright spots for the team this season. He is hitting .272 with seven doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 25 RBIs in 44 games. He has an .814 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, which ranks sixth among 20 qualifying second basemen in baseball.

Utley has missed significant time each of the previous two seasons because of chronically injured knees, but he has said the knees have felt fine.

It’s Ohio Week In Philly

Chase UtleyHola, amigos.

It’s been a while, I know. I took a few days away from the blog to recharge the batteries. But it’s back to baseball tonight at Citizens Bank Park.

This week is a good test for the Phillies. They went 4-3 in San Francisco and Arizona and return home to play five games against the Indians and Reds. The Indians outscored the Phillies in two games two weeks ago in Cleveland, 20-2. The Reds swept the Phillies in three games in April by a combined score 16-4. If my math is correct, that’s zero wins, five losses, six runs for and 36 runs against. So I guess we’ll see if that 4-3 road trip meant anything.

A few random stats to digest:

  • From Elias Sports Bureau: Ryan Howard drove in the game-winning runs in the 10th inning Sunday. It’s the 13th time Howard has had extra-inning go-ahead RBIs. The only active players with more extra-inning, lead-assuming RBIs are Raul Ibanez (16) and Placido Polanco (15). Adam Jones and Albert Pujols also have 13.
  • I took a look in yesterday’s Inbox at the Phillies’ All-Star candidates. Interestingly, I found Chase Utley‘s .858 OPS best among NL second basemen. He’s third in baseball behind only Ian Kinsler (.911) and Robinson Cano (.895). Among NL second basemen, Utley is first in slugging percentage (.514); tied for first in triples (two) and home runs (seven); second in hits (41) and RBIs (24); third in batting (.289) and on-base percentage (.344); tied four fourth in runs (21) and sixth in doubles (seven). There is no question Utley has been the team’s bright spot offensively on a team that has struggled to score runs. (The Phillies’ three losses in San Francisco and Arizona were by a combined three runs.) Where would this team be if Utley’s knees were keeping him from the lineup?
  • The Phillies are 12th in the league with a 4.11 ERA. Remove Roy Halladay and they have a 3.60 ERA, which would rank sixth. I’ve said this for a while, but I consider the complaints about the Phillies’ pitching overblown. Halladay isn’t the same and he might never be, despite his optimism. No matter who takes that fifth spot while Halladay is out (right now it’s a four-man rotation), it’ll be an improvement over his 8.65 ERA. And while the ERAs of Jeremy Horst (5.51 ERA), Chad Durbin (6.17 ERA) and Raul Valdes (7.00 ERA) are scary, we’re not really pinning this team’s record on three pitchers in the front of the bullpen are we? Typically those guys are pitching when the Phillies are trailing or when the starter has gone less than six innings (again, which means things probably haven’t been going well). They aren’t pitching in too many high-leverage situations. Clearly, they need to pitch better, but this team’s problems fall mostly on the offense, which is 13th in the league averaging 3.54 runs per game. At some point this offense is going to have to get its act together or we’ll be looking at a fire sale in July.

Long Overdue: Utley and Howard Split Up in Lineup

Rob McElhenney Talks Utley, Howard and PhilliesCharlie Manuel made a noticeable change to his lineup today at Citizens Bank Park.

He finally split up Chase Utley and Ryan Howard with right-handed-hitting Michael Young.

I think it was long overdue.

Theoretically, it should make life more difficult for left-handed pitchers. Utley entered the game against the Pirates hitting .125 (2-for-16) with one triple, one RBI, two walks and five strikeouts against lefties this season. Howard entered the night hitting .111 (2-for-18) with two doubles, one RBI, one walk and 10 strikeouts against them.

But their struggles against lefties are not coming from a small sample size. Utley has hit .197 with a .634 OPS against lefties from 2011-13. Howard has hit .199 with a .608 OPS against lefties in that span.

They essentially have been automatic outs against lefties for two-plus seasons. Young has not been much better this year, hitting .200 (3-for-15) against lefties, although he has a much more than respectable .832 OPS against them from 2011-13. But simply having a right-handed hitter between Utley and Howard will make opposing managers think a little more late in games. Before Wednesday, managers could just run a left-handed reliever to the mound to face Utley and Howard in succession. Now the lefty will have to face a right-handed hitter, or the manager has to remove him from the game, if he does not want him facing Young.

“I can see how that would be beneficial,” Utley said.

It also makes perfect sense to keep this look against right-handed starting pitchers, too, but Manuel was noncommittal.

“I could,” he said. “It depends how we match up.”

He absolutely should use this look against right-handers, too. By having Utley and Howard hit back-to-back against a right-handed starter the Phillies essentially are banking on getting to the starter in the first five or six innings. If they don’t, which often has been the case this season, things get easy again for the opposing manager late in the game.

Utley: Healthy and Hitting

Chase UtleyChase Utley came up big in the 10th inning last night at Marlins Park.

Read the story here.

“I think it’s going to be a fun summer,” he said afterward.

He certainly can help the cause. Utley, who started each of the previous two seasons on the disabled list because of knee problems, is healthy and hitting .316 (12-for-38) with two doubles, two triples, two home runs and 10 RBIs in 10 games. He has reached base safely in every game this season, and last night was his second game-winning RBI of the year. He ranks first in the NL in triples. He is tied for third in RBIs, tied for eighth in extra-base hits (six) and tied for ninth in total bases (24).

He is looking like the Utley from 2005-09, when he was the best second baseman in the game. It is just 10 games, but it is encouraging.

Nine Up, Nine Down

Chase UtleyHere are some things we’ve learned through the first nine games of the season:

  • You should be worried about Roy Halladay. Despite protests from Halladay and everybody else in the Phillies clubhouse and front office, Halladay has not looked good since 2011. So this isn’t a four or five start slump. This is a slump that has extended beyond one full calendar year. It started in Spring Training 2012 and has lasted through his first two starts in 2013. Besides a drop in velocity, Halladay’s ERA from 2010-11 to 2012-13 has jumped from 2.40 to 4.95, while his strikeout-to-walk ratio has plummeted from 6.75 to 3.43. He is going the wrong direction in every relevant statistic. Maybe he can figure out things and be productive, but right now there is no evidence to suggest he is close. He faces the wretched Marlins on Sunday. They’ve had Placido Polanco and Greg Dobbs hitting cleanup. It is a good opportunity to have some success on the mound. Maybe it gets him going.
  • Don’t be worried about Cole Hamels. If we’re at Defcon 2 with Halladay, we’re at Defcon 5 with Hamels. There is nothing to see here. Please, disperse.
  • It’s more the rotation than the bullpen. Phillies starters have a 6.24 ERA, which ranks 28th in baseball. That is the biggest issue right now, not middle relievers like Chad Durbin, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes. Certainly they need to do a better job. They have allowed 12-of-15 inherited runners to score. That 80 percent mark is the worst in baseball. (Technically, the Reds have allowed 100 percent of their inherited runners to score, but they’re only 1-for-1.) But the middle relievers have been pitching too much and have put into too many tough situations. That blame falls on the starters. They are the ones that need to do better. They are supposed to pitch deep into games and they have not done that nearly enough.
  • The Phillies rank seventh in the National League, averaging 4.67 runs per game. They have looked better recently, and they show some potential. Chase Utley, Michael Young and Jimmy Rollins are swinging well right now. Domonic Brown has been OK. I believe Ryan Howard will be better than he has been. The only drag right now is Ben Revere. He has struck out seven times in 38 at-bats. That’s 5.86 plate appearances per strikeout. He struck out 54 times last season, or once every 10.24 plate appearances. John Mayberry Jr. has been productive, but even if he continues to swing well the Phillies are going with Delmon Young in right field when he is ready. Add Young and Carlos Ruiz to the lineup before the end of the month and this lineup has a chance to score some runs.
  • Utley looks like the guy that earned the “Best Second Baseman in Baseball” tag from 2005-09.
  • Cliff Lee can be streaky. The Phillies should be thankful he started on a good streak, otherwise they’d be in deep doo-doo.
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