"I didn't really give myself any limitations," Utley said, noting that he felt free to dive or slide. "[Wathan] stopped me, and I was OK with that."
Playing in front of several big-league scouts, including one from the New York Yankees, Utley said his swing felt 100 percent in the Reading Fightin Phils' 10-inning, 9-8 win over the Portland Sea Dogs, although Portland's pitching silenced his bat.
Utley initially was slated for seven innings, but he stayed in for the eighth to get an additional at-bat. He said the organization had not decided on the date of his return to the Phillies.
The Phillies have gone 12-14 since Utley went on the DL, and his return could inject life into a sputtering lineup. Utley didn't dazzle Wednesday - he went 0 for 4 - but more important, he said there was no tenderness in his swing.
"Obviously, I haven't seen live pitching for a month, so my timing was a little off," Utley said. "But overall it went pretty well."
After the game, Utley said he felt no soreness. He noted that he has introduced new stretches into his pregame routine. Inside fastballs would put the most strain on Utley's injury, which affected his ability to rotate, but he didn't see many inside pitches Wednesday. He hit to the opposite field in three of his four at-bats.
In the field, Utley caught one pop-up and fielded just one grounder, an easy chopper. He hardly had to move. On grounders to third, Utley hustled to back up first base.
Meanwhile, scouts from at least three organizations watched from behind home plate. The Yankees could be enticed to put together a deal for Utley. New York is playing without injured first baseman Mark Teixeira and third baseman Kevin Youkilis.
One major-league scout who asked to remain anonymous named the Yankees among potential suitors if the Phillies decide to sell by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The Phillies have not given any indication that they would deal Utley.
Contact Zach Helfand at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @zhelfand.