Phillies Notes: Phillies' Utley is cleared to swing bat

Posted: August 12, 2010

Chase Utley received good news Wednesday during a visit to the surgeon who repaired a torn ligament in his right thumb: The second baseman was cleared to begin swinging a bat.

But the two-month timetable for Utley's return likely has not changed, according to Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock.

Utley has been out since June 28, when he injured the thumb sliding headfirst into second base during a game at Cincinnati. After surgery by Andrew Weiland on July 1 in New York, the Phillies said that Utley would be out for eight weeks. If that prognosis holds, Utley could return Aug. 26.

Proefrock did not rule out an earlier return for the all-star second baseman.

"Chase Utley was given clearance to begin a hitting progression, which is very positive news from our perspective," Proefrock said. "From this point forward, it's just going to be a matter of how he feels, how he progresses. We're still on the same timetable we were on before and things have gone pretty much according to plan at this point. We'll just have to wait and see how he feels as he goes through the progression.

"We were at an eight-week timetable to begin with, and I don't think anything has changed from that perspective. If it's a little faster than that, great, if it's a little slower than that, great - just as long as he's healthy and ready to play at full capacity."

Utley will go on a minor-league rehab assignment before he returns to the Phillies' lineup.

"He hasn't done anything for an extended period of time, so I would imagine he's going to start slow," Proefrock said. "It's going to be a matter of how he feels. When he tells us he's ready to go on a rehab assignment, we'll head in that direction."

Polanco deals with pain

Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco anticipated that he will require surgery to remove a bone spur in his left elbow as soon as the season ends.

Polanco was in the lineup Wednesday after leaving Tuesday's game against the Dodgers when he aggravated the elbow injury that has bothered him since he was hit by a pitch in late April.

"I have to deal with it for a while," he said. "You learn how to play with it."

Polanco has missed 24 games because of the injury, including a stint on the disabled list from June 26 through July 16. He has received at least two cortisone injections and said he would have no more.

"I've had enough of them," he said, adding that the bone spur pinches a nerve, which is why he believes he'll require surgery. "I did all the rehab and all and it's still there. I'm not going to have that [bone spur] next year. One of the doctors told me it was going to bother me until they take that piece of bone out."

Polanco went into Wednesday's game as the NL's third-leading hitter, with a .320 average.

Brown ticketed for farm

If Shane Victorino is activated from the disabled list Friday as expected, Domonic Brown will return to triple-A Lehigh Valley. Brown almost certainly will be recalled when the rosters expand Sept. 1 and will likely be on the postseason roster if the Phillies make the playoffs.

Proefrock said the 22-year-old Brown, the club's top prospect, would benefit from regular at-bats.

"I think any young player is better served by getting regular at-bats," Proefrock said. There's an opportunity for him to be in a pennant race, and so far he's done very well. Domonic still has some things to work on at the minor-league level before he's ready to play every day here."

Extra bases

Victorino went 3 for 4 with three RBIs Wednesday in his second rehab-assignment game at Lehigh Valley. He hit a homer and a triple . . . Juan Castro, who was released by the Phillies July 17, was called up by the Dodgers on Wednesday after the club placed shortstop Rafael Furcal on the 15-day disabled list because of a lower-back strain. The Phillies will continue to pay Castro's $800,000 salary this season.

Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or

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