According to Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News, Chase Utley will begin his rehab assignment with Class-A Clearwater today, which officially means he is uber-close to returning to the Phillies. Utley will have a 20-day maximum to play rehab games, but odds are he’ll be back much sooner than that. David Hale of the Wilmington News Jorunal says May 18, and I have to agree with him 100 percent. The Phillies will return from their 8-game road trip that day, and what better way to unveil Utley to the world than back in the place he calls home.
The good news is, he has progressed to the point they feel comfortable moving him up from extended spring training very quickly.
Thank the lord, too, because the Phillies second base platoon of Wilson Valdez and Pete Orr has been relatively putrid with the bat. Defensively, they haven’t missed a beat, but that’s not really where the focus is. The Phillies have a need for runs and those two are not giving it to them. As Hale writes, the league average for OPS from the second base position is .657. Orr, Valdez, and a little Michael Martinez sprinkled in, has only managed a .568 OPS.
A one-handed Chase Utley could give you a .568 OPS. Man is he a sight for sore eyes.