Utley feels 'good' in rehab start in Reading

TOM KELLY III/FOR THEDAILY NEWS Chase Utley watches his flyball, which was caught near the wall in Reading.
TOM KELLY III/FOR THEDAILY NEWS Chase Utley watches his flyball, which was caught near the wall in Reading.
Posted: June 21, 2013

SECOND BASEMAN Chase Utley last night took another step to returning to the Phillies' lineup.

Utley, who was placed on the disabled list on May 21 after suffering a right oblique strain, began his rehab assignment in Reading. He played eight innings at second base last night and finished 0-for-4 at the plate in the Fightin' Phils' 9-8 extra-innings win over the Portland Sea Dogs.

The 34-year-old veteran said he felt strong in his return and was happy to face live pitching again.

"It felt good to play," Utley said. "I played with no reservations, which is a good feeling to have. I could have played nine innings, but I thought it was smart to come out."

Before the game, Utley took batting practice and fielded ground balls. Fightin' Phils manager Dusty Wathan said Utley looked strong in his pregame workouts and did not have any limitations entering the game.

"If you tell him not to do something, it's probably not going to work anyway," Wathan said. "It's hard to play this game not giving it 100 percent, especially when you are a guy who is used to giving it 100 percent. To me, we got to make sure that he is 100 percent and that he is ready to go, or as close to 100 percent as possible, because he has got to do it hopefully in the next couple of days in the big leagues."

Before being placed on the 15-day DL, Utley was batting .272 with seven home runs and 25 RBI in 44 games. The Phillies have used infielders Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis at second during Utley's absence.

While the organization is hoping Utley's minor league rehab is brief, Reading first baseman Jim Murphy said he enjoys having a veteran presence in the clubhouse. Murphy had a chance last season to play alongside Utley in Clearwater when Utley was rehabbing a broken right hand.

"He's not really that much of a vocal guy; he is more of a lead-by-example kind of player," Murphy said of Utley. "I think everybody in Philadelphia and around baseball knows how he plays and for the younger guys to see how he plays is good. It's fun to watch a professional go about his business the way Chase does."

The Phillies are hoping to have Utley back in the next few days. Last night, Utley said he may or may not see more time in Reading.

"I will talk to [general manager] Ruben [Amaro] and [manager] Charlie [Manuel] and put a game plan together," he said. "But most importantly, feeling good and not holding back is something I wanted to accomplish, and I did that."

DN Members Only : The Phils get their man in J.P. Crawford.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|