Phillies Notes: Still no prognosis on Utley

The lack of progress in Chase Utley's rehab lifts the lid on a Pandora's box of possibilities at second base. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
The lack of progress in Chase Utley's rehab lifts the lid on a Pandora's box of possibilities at second base. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer) (Jonathan Tannenwald)
Posted: March 08, 2011

TAMPA, Fla. - When Chase Utley received a cortisone shot on Friday, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said the Phillies should know "before the end of the weekend" if the injection helped relieve the pain in Utley's right knee.

On Sunday, when Amaro addressed reporters on Domonic Brown's hand surgery, he said an update on Utley would come in the next 24 to 48 hours.

On Monday, Amaro said through a team spokesman that there is nothing to report as of yet on Utley. The GM and second baseman briefly chatted this morning in the Phillies clubhouse in Clearwater and then went their separate ways.

When deciding on the injection, the Phillies hoped it would kick-start Utley's recovery and get him on the field.

"Hopefully, that kind of gets him over the hump," Amaro said Saturday. "We'll probably know by the end of the weekend whether it's helped him. Hopefully, it does so he can get back on the field and playing in some games."

Without Utley in the lineup for the first 11 Grapefruit League games, manager Charlie Manuel has tinkered with his batting order on an almost-daily basis. In the Phillies' 7-1 loss to the Yankees on Monday, Jimmy Rollins batted third. Raul Ibanez has batted third for the majority of spring-training games.

The challenge Manuel is facing now is how to replace the third and fifth hitters in his lineup from 2010.

"We're going to see if we can find somebody to fit there," Manuel said. "We usually do. We'll be all right."

By moving Rollins down, is the manager softening on his stance that the shortstop is his leadoff hitter?

"Not really," Manuel said. "Just trying to look for the best lineup."

Wilson Valdez played second base on Monday.

Oswalt hit hard

Roy Oswalt described his fastball command as "partly cloudy" after his first spring start. Following the second one Monday, he still wasn't pleased with the pitch at times.

"Fastball is a little erratic, I think," he said. "I'm trying to get command of that more than anything. It's coming around."

In 22/3 innings, Oswalt allowed five runs (three earned) on two home runs - both hit off fastballs. But Oswalt said he felt good on the mound and could have pitched longer. He threw 54 pitches, 35 of them for strikes.

Brown to have surgery

Domonic Bown will undergo surgery on his fractured right hand Tuesday in Philadelphia. It will be performed by hand specialist Randall Culp, who also operated on Jimmy Rollins' wrist during the winter.

Brown is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Extra bases

The Phillies were held hitless until the sixth inning when Valdez hit a solo home run to left. Valdez is hitting .529 (9 for 17) this spring. . . . Ben Francisco was 0 for 3, dropping his spring average to .320 (8 for 25). John Mayberry Jr. was also hitless, going 0 for 2.

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