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.
The Phillies tendered contracts to three arbitration-eligible players on Friday night and set another free.
Reliever Jeanmar Gomez and infielders Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis were tendered contracts for the 2017 season while outfielder Cody Asche was let go after four seasons with the club.
The Phillies signaled their intention to let Asche go when they designated him for assignment, a move that removed him from the 40-man roster, on Friday afternoon. The club had the option of trading Asche — and likely had discussions with other clubs — but ultimately decided to non-tender him before the 8 p.m. deadline. The move made Asche a free agent.
The Phils had removed Asche from the 40-man roster to clear a spot for David Rollins, a left-handed reliever who was claimed off waivers from Texas on Friday (see story).
Galvis and Hernandez, the team’s regular shortstop and second baseman, respectively, were certain to receive contracts for 2017. Gomez was less certain. He saved 37 games for the Phils in 2016, but struggled badly late in the season.
Phillies officials will try to negotiate 2017 salaries with all three players. If an agreement cannot be reached with a player, an arbitration hearing will be held later in the winter to determine that player’s salary for the coming season.
Gomez made $1.4 million in 2016, Galvis $2 million and Hernandez $525,000. According to mlbtraderumors.com, Gomez projects to make $4.6 million in arbitration, Galvis $4.4 million and Hernandez $2.5 million.
The Phillies' roster is full at 40.
Cody Asche's time with the Phillies has come to an end.
The Phillies claimed LHP David Rollins off waivers from the Texas Rangers on Friday. To make room on the 40-man roster, Asche was designated for assignment. The Phillies had until 8 p.m. on Friday to tender a contract to the outfielder, but they instead chose to free up the roster spot for Rollins.
Asche played four seasons with the Phillies from 2013-16 after he was drafted in the fourth round in 2011. The St. Charles, Mo. native had a .213/.284/.350 batting line this past season over 71 games. His best season with the Phillies came as their starting third baseman in 2014, hitting 10 home runs and driving home 46 runs in 121 games.
Rollins has been on four different rosters this offseason. He pitched 31 games in relief for the Seattle Mariners over the last two seasons, sporting a 7.60 ERA over 34 1/3 innings. He was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs 15 days after the World Series and then subsequently claimed again by the Rangers.
Rollins was a 24th round draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2011 MLB Draft and was traded a year later to the Houston Astros. Prior to the 2015 season, the Mariners picked Rollins in the Rule 5 draft after the Astros chose not to protect him.