Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Posted: 1:10 p.m. Updated: 6:30 p.m.
By Jim Salisbury
MIAMI Chase Utley was set to begin an official minor-league rehabilitation stint at Single A Clearwater on Tuesday night. The all-star second baseman was scheduled to be Clearwaters designated hitter.
Utley, recovering from right knee tendinitis, played in extended spring-training games on Saturday and Monday so his assignment to the Clearwater club means hes moving up a level of competition. Clearwater is the Phillies advanced Single A club.
Its great that hes progressing, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. It obviously means hes feeling well enough to progress into this type of situation. Well stay cautiously optimistic that he will continue to progress. Its good that hes getting at-bats, and he seems to be feeling pretty good.
Clearwater is home through Friday so Utley could continue to play there for a few days if he feels up to it.
Amaro emphasized that there is no timetable for Utleys return. Teammates have privately said they would not be surprised to see him before the current roadtrip ends next Tuesday. It might be more likely that he returns during the coming homestand which runs May 18-26.
Everyone wants a timetable for Chase but hes really going to make his own timetable with where he is timing-wise at the plate and fielding-wise and with all of those things he needs to do to play at the major-league level, Amaro said.
Its really a day-to-day thing. Id like to have him on the field tomorrow, but well go with how he feels.
The rehab stint can last up to 20 days. If Utley suffers a setback, he can sit out for five days and the 20-day clock can be reset, according to Major League rules.
Roy Oswalt threw in the bullpen late Tuesday afternoon and was cleared to make a rehab start for Clearwater on Thursday. That game will have a big-league feel as Carlos Ruiz (sore back) will catch and Utley will play second.
Oswalt is on the DL with a lower back strain. The right-hander is slated to throw 75 pitches Thursday. He threw 55 in the bullpen on Tuesday.
My back feels great, said Oswalt, who has not pitched since April 26. Im a little rusty, though. I cant spot my fastball and I dont have any breaking ball. Other than that Im in pretty good shape.
Manager Charlie Manuel acknowledged that Joe Blanton was not 100 percent when he pitched five innings on Monday night. Blanton had missed the previous two weeks with a sore elbow. As of late Tuesday afternoon, the plan was for Blanton to throw in the bullpen on Wednesday. The Phillies will evaluate his condition from there. Blanton is next scheduled to pitch on Saturday. E-mail Jim Salisbury at firstname.lastname@example.org
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