Utley improving; will start swinging in coming days

Utley improving; will start swinging in coming days

June 7, 2013, 7:15 pm
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Chase Utley strained his right oblique while taking batting practice swings on May 21. (AP)

MILWAUKEE -- Chase Utley has made good progress over the last handful of days as he continues to recover from a strained right oblique muscle.

The Phillies' second baseman believes he could return to the lineup in the middle of this month.

“I’m definitely feeling better,” Utley said Friday evening. “Hopefully I’ll take some swings in the next three or four days and at that point I’ll know where I’m at. I actually feel like I could have swung today, but I want to play it safe.”

Utley injured himself taking a swing in batting practice on May 21. Initial estimates had him out anywhere from two weeks to a month. June 18 will mark a month since he sustained the injury.

Utley began taking ground balls a week ago and has responded well. Once he gets a reading on his condition after starting to swing again, he will have an idea of when he might be ready to go on a minor-league rehab assignment. He might only need a game or two in the minors once he’s healthy.

Catcher Carlos Ruiz, who is on the DL with a hamstring strain, could also return mid-month. He could head to Florida to ramp up his rehab next week. Utley is likely to stay with the team and get his work in.