Chase Utley appears poised to enter the Phillies lineup, having rejoined the big club this weekend and declared ready by his manager. In his postgame presser following the Phils' 2-0 Sunday loss, Charlie Manuel said Utley would be in the lineup tomorrow against Cincinnati.
The team is expected to be careful and judicious in its use of Utley, perhaps starting him every other game for a while or just mixing in far more off days than he's seen throughout his career to date. It hasn't been pretty, but the Phils have weathered the storm of not having one of their best hitters through nearly two months of the season.
Somehow (hint: pitching) they are still the first place team in the National League.
Although it's obviously great news that one of the game's best-hitting second basemen will rejoin a lineup that has gotten paltry production from the position to date, we don't know what exactly Utley will bring to the plate. The team will still be without Shane Victorino for a bit, but it's hard to imagine the lineup not getting a boost from Chase's return. Still, he's been away from big league pitching since October and could need some time to get his game together at the plate. There's also no guarantee he stays healthy for long.
But, the wait is over. The Phillies aren't the Phillies without Chase Utley, and the WFC is back.
Pete Orr was optioned to make room for Utley's activation.
In other roster news, Joe Blanton was placed on the DL, with Vance Worley being recalled. The Phils have also agreed to terms on a minor league deal with outfielder Scott Podsednik.
Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-US Presswire