MIAMI – Chase Utley, out of the lineup for a second straight game Wednesday night and possibly headed to the disabled list, admitted to being frightened when he felt pain in his right rib cage during batting practice Tuesday.
“It definitely scared me a little bit,” the 34-year-old second baseman said. “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 will travel with the Phillies to Washington after Wednesday night’s game and head to Philadelphia for an MRI and a consultation with team physician Michael Ciccotti on Thursday.
Utley, still bothered by the injury Wednesday, was unsure whether he’d need to go on the disabled list, but it sure sounds as if he’s headed there.
“I've talked to a few guys on this team who have had [rib cage/oblique strains],” Utley said. “Some guys I played with in the past had it. The main thing they said is, 'Don't rush back.' That's when you can make it worse and prolong the time you're out.”
Assistant GM Scott Proefrock would not speculate whether Utley would need DL time, and neither would manager Charlie Manuel. Manuel did concede, however, that team officials would soon talk about roster replacements for Utley.
The Phillies will use Freddy Galvis as their primary second baseman in Utley’s absence. The Phils could go several ways in filling Utley’s roster spot if/when he goes on the DL. (The Phils are off Thursday so they wouldn’t have to make a move until Friday afternoon.) If the Phils wanted to add a utility infielder, they could purchase the contract of either Pete Orr or Michael Martinez from Triple A. Triple A second baseman Cesar Hernandez could be a consideration, but he’s a prospect and team officials might prefer he continue to play every day rather than sit on the bench. Darin Ruf is another possibility. He’s an outfielder/first baseman, but the Phils will need a designated hitter next week when they play two games in Boston.
Timing of injuries is never good. Utley’s comes at a time when the Phils already have Roy Halladay, Carlos Ruiz, Mike Adams and John Lannan on the DL. The injury is particularly difficult on Utley himself because his problematic knees have felt so good. Utley missed significant time the last two seasons with knee problems. Before Tuesday night, he had missed just one of the Phillies’ games this season.
“I have felt pretty good,” Utley said. “Hopefully this is just a small bump in the road.”
Adams, recovering from a back strain, threw a strenuous bullpen session Wednesday. According to pitching coach Rich Dubee, Adams will throw again Friday in Clearwater and pitch in a minor-league game Monday. Dubee said Adams could be activated Tuesday or Wednesday, if all goes well.
Adams said he was feeling good. In fact, he believes he could be ready by Sunday, but will defer to team officials as they make the final call.