The Phillies sounded optimistic yesterday that Utley, who will have the surgery in New York, would miss a minimal portion of the season, certainly not enough to force the Phillies to look for a long-term solution at second base.
That means they won't be making any phone calls to Orlando Hudson, the top free-agent second baseman on the market.
The Phils instead will be looking at a couple of internal solutions. Eric Bruntlett filled in for shortstop Jimmy Rollins early this season when Rollins spent time on the disabled list with a sprained left ankle. Bruntlett could do the same with Utley at second base. Shortstop Jason Donald, one of the organization's top prospects, is hitting .407 in the Arizona Fall League and also could see time at second base.
The Phillies had kicked around the idea of adding a utility infielder before they scheduled Utley for surgery. Free agents such as Nick Punto, who played for the Phillies from 2001 to 2003, and Damion Easley would make sense.
"I think we have coverage with Bruntlett and with the emergence of Donald," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "That does not mean that we won't look to add, but I think if we were to open the season today without Chase . . . we're covered fairly well.
"You don't necessarily replace an Utley, but at the same time we really feel . . . he's going to be fairly close to ready, if not ready, by opening day. A lot of it depends on how the rehab goes, how the surgery goes. This is not an exact science. But we fully expect to have Chase Utley with us for the bulk of the season, so I'd have to say, frankly, as far as how we go about our business with our club, it probably won't change significantly."
The Phillies sound as if they expect Feliz to be on the field at some point in spring training, too. So don't expect them to run out to find a third baseman, either. Greg Dobbs played at third last season. Bruntlett and Donald also can play there.
Feliz spent 26 days on the disabled list this past season because of a lower-back injury. He had intermittent symptoms at the end of the season, which made an off-season follow-up necessary. Robert Watkins performed the surgery, termed a lumbar discectomy, in Los Angeles.
After the Utley news, the Phillies traded outfielder Greg Golson to the Texas Rangers for outfielder John Mayberry.
Mayberry isn't the Phillies' short-term solution in left field. Instead, he provides something the Phillies' organization sorely lacks: power.
Mayberry, Texas' first-round pick in 2005, hit a combined .264 with 38 doubles, 20 home runs, 71 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases between double-A Frisco and triple-A Oklahoma. A righthanded batter, Mayberry hit .351 with nine home runs and 23 RBIs against lefthanders.
Talk inside the Phillies' organization during the season was that Golson, the Phillies' first-round pick in 2004, projected to be a fourth or fifth outfielder. He hit .282 with 13 homers, 60 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases for double-A Reading, but also struck out 130 times.
In essence, the Rangers needed an outfielder with speed who could play defense, and the Phillies wanted somebody who could hit for power.
The teams found a match.
"We think Mayberry has a chance to do some damage in our ballpark," Amaro said. "If it's not this year, then maybe it's sometime down the road. It is possible down the road he could be a power-hitting corner outfielder for us, but we don't see him as the immediate answer."
The Phillies assigned Mayberry to triple-A Lehigh Valley and added him to the 40-man roster. They also added righthanders Carlos Carrasco and Drew Naylor, lefthander Sergio Escalona, and catcher Joel Naughton to the 40-man roster, giving them 37 players on the roster.
Carrasco is the organization's top prospect and is expected to compete for a spot in the big-league rotation next spring.
Coaching decision. The Phillies could announce the final coach to be added to manager Charlie Manuel's staff today. They interviewed Rich Donnelly, Tim Bogar and Pete Mackanin this week.
Politicos pay up. Pennsylvania's two U.S. senators, Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Arlen Specter, have accepted their winnings for a wager on the World Series.
They accepted a box of citrus, Cuban pastries, Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish, and copies of the Columbia Spanish Cookbook from Florida Sens. Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson yesterday in Washington.
Martinez said the food might "enlighten my colleagues as to why the Phillies choose to hold spring training in Florida every year."
Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki at 215-854-4874 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his blog at http://go.philly.com/phillieszone.