Phillies hope Utley's trip to DL is a quick one

Phillies hope Utley's trip to DL is a quick one

May 23, 2013, 8:15 pm
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Chase Utley had played in 44 of the Phillies' first 45 games before getting hurt. (USA Today Images)

Updated 10:26 p.m.

The Phillies on Thursday night placed second baseman Chase Utley on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle.

Utley suffered the injury taking swings during batting practice in Miami on Tuesday night. An MRI performed in Philadelphia on Thursday revealed a Grade 1 strain. According to the team, there was no intercostal or rib cage injury.
 
“The recovery for this type of injury should take between two and four weeks,” GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement. “We do believe and hope that Chase will be ready to play in Philadelphia within 15 days.”
 
To replace Utley on the roster, the Phillies have purchased the contract of Michael Martinez from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Martinez will serve as a utilityman to fill a spot on the bench while Freddy Galvis moves into Utley's starting role. Martinez has spent parts of the last two seasons with the big club, appearing in 45 games last year and 88 games in 2011 and is valuable more for his versatility and speed than his bat. He holds a .188 career average, but he can play second base, third base and shortstop, as well as all three outfield positions.
 
Utley is the latest prominent Phillie to go on the DL recently, joining Roy Halladay, Carlos Ruiz and Mike Adams. Pitcher John Lannan is also on the DL. He could return sometime next month.
 
This is the fourth straight season that Utley, 34, has been on the DL. The Phillies hope this is a shorter trip than past ones. He missed six weeks in 2010 with a torn ligament in his thumb, two months with knee problems in 2011 and nearly three months last season with knee issues. He has averaged just 100 games the last three seasons.
 
Utley felt a twinge in his right side after taking a few swings in batting practice Tuesday night.
 
“It definitely scared me a little bit,” he said Wednesday. “My first swing, 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.”
 
Utley has spoken with several players who have had a similar injury.
 
“The main thing they said is, 'Don't rush back,' “ Utley said Wednesday. ”That's when you can make it worse and prolong the time you're out.”
 
Utley was off to a solid start, hitting .272 with a team-best .814 OPS in 44 games. His seven homers are second-most on the club and his 25 RBIs are tied for the top spot with Ryan Howard.