Phillies' Utley diagnosed with concussion

Posted: September 09, 2011

MILWAUKEE - The Phillies will exude caution in the season's final month, and that is why Chase Utley did not step on the team's charter plane late Wednesday night. The team's suspicions were confirmed after a doctor's appointment Thursday: Utley was found to have a mild concussion.

The Phillies second baseman was plunked on the helmet Wednesday night by Atlanta reliever Eric O'Flaherty. Utley complained of headaches and was later removed.

He will remain in Philadelphia likely through the weekend, and perhaps longer. When he will return to the lineup is unknown.

On Saturday, Utley will undergo an Impact test, used to determine the severity of concussion symptoms. That, the Phillies said, is best performed 48 hours after the head trauma. The test will compare readings from a baseline exam done on Utley when spring training began.

Utley was examined Thursday by Rob Franks, the concussion specialist at the Rothman Institute.

"Am I concerned about it? Of course," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Can I do anything about it? Not a damned thing."

With Utley down, the Phillies activated Jimmy Rollins from the disabled list even though they know he is not yet ready to rejoin the lineup. They can do that because of expanded rosters. It offers a chance to ease Rollins, who suffered from a strained groin, back into a regular role before October arrives. There is no timetable for his full return.

"It's a matter of how he continues to progress," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. "He's available. He's active if we need him in a pinch."

Rollins declined comment to reporters. Manuel said he could use Rollins first as a pinch-hitter, but if the shortstop gets on base the manager would send in a pinch-runner.

There are conveniences of a huge lead. The Braves would have to win all of their remaining 18 games to merely tie the Phillies. So caution now is acceptable.

"Since when didn't we have injuries?" Manuel asked rhetorically.

The postseason does not begin until Oct. 1, and that allows time for recovery and coasting. Better now than later.

Collier suspended

Zach Collier, the Phillies' first-round pick in 2008, was suspended for 50 games Thursday by Major League Baseball for testing positive for amphetamine. The suspension is effective at the start of next season.

Collier turned 21 on the day he received the news. He was selected 34th overall in 2008 and missed all of the 2010 season with a litany of injuries. He played at single-A Lakewood this season and hit .255 with one home run and 36 RBIs.

"I'm loving it right now," Collier told The Inquirer in May. "I'm really enjoying and appreciating the game. I feel like a different player than I was before."

Collier's suspension is the sixth ban for performance-enhancing drugs imposed by MLB on the Phillies this season - the most in baseball and three more than any other one team.

"Actions have consequences," Proefrock said.

Extra bases

Ryan Howard was also out of Manuel's lineup Thursday. The first baseman has been bothered by nagging bursitis in his left foot but could have started. Manuel said it was simply a good chance to rest Howard with a lefthander on the mound. Howard could receive regular days of rest for the rest of the season. . . . Ben Francisco started for the first time since Aug. 23. Before Thursday, he had just eight at-bats since July 31. . . . Two interesting pitching matchups will open the Phillies' series in Houston on Monday. Roy Oswalt will start against his former team. He'll be opposed by former Phillie Brett Myers. The next day, Cole Hamels will face J.A. Happ.


Contact staff writer Matt Gelb

at mgelb@phillynews.com or @magelb on Twitter.

 

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