First Carlos Ruiz, now Chase Utley. Just like that the Phillies lineup is back to full strength – or they are all accounted for anyway – with the announcement that Utley was activated from the disabled list on Friday.
Utley completed his rehab stint at Reading by going 0-for-9 at the plate. That was in just two games though. He played deep into both, getting as many at bats as quickly as he could so he could rejoin the big club in time for their series with the Mets.
The Phils’ second baseman was batting .272 (.339 OBP) with seven home runs and 25 RBI in 44 games before he was struck down by injury. At first it sounded like he might only miss a couple weeks because of a strained oblique, but he wound up being out for a month.
Philadelphia remains three games below .500, 7.5 back of first place in the NL East. They have some ground to cover to be sure, but a lineup with Utley is better than one without.
Plus, if they’re not in the hunt around the July 31 trade deadline, a healthy Utley might be a coveted piece on the market. He’s a free agent at the end of the season.
We’ll see if he can help this Phillies core make one final playoff push instead.