Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 12:21 pm
Jimmy Rollins is coming back from a strained right groin. Chase Utley may have a concussion.
The Phillies don't think Rollins is ready to play, but they're not going to take any chances with a head injury. So while Utley remained back in Philadelphia to get checked out, the Phillies activated Rollins from the disabled list for Thursday night's game in Milwaukee.
Rollins is not expected to play (he said as much on Twitter), but the Phils wanted to make sure they had enough infielders in uniform, in case of emergency.
Utley, who was hit on the helmet by a 91 mph Eric O'Flaherty pitch in the sixth inning Wednesday night, will be examined in Philadelphia by Dr. Rob Franks, the concussion specialist at the Rothman Institute.
Utley showed little reaction after he was hit, and he stayed in the game for another inning. But when he complained of a headache, manager Charlie Manuel pulled him from the game, and the Phillies decided that he would not travel with the team to Milwaukee.
Rollins, who hasn't played since Aug. 21, has been participating in pregame drills. The goal has been to make sure he is fully healthy before the playoffs, and the Phillies' expectation had been that Rollins wouldn't play in a game until sometime next week.
Michael Martinez has been starting at shortstop in place of Rollins, and the Phillies have Wilson Valdez and Pete Orr available to play in the middle of the infield. But with an expanded roster in September, there was no reason to risk being caught short, and Rollins could play in an emergency.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 11:02 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 11:09 pm
Doesn't really matter which.
Some in the Indians organization say Kipnis can be Utley, the Phillies All-Star second baseman. Kipnis relates even more to Pedroia, the Red Sox All-Star who preceded him by five years at Arizona State.
"I would love to be put in the same sentence as either one of those guys," the 24-year-old Kipnis said Wednesday night, after the first five-hit, four-run game by an Indians rookie in 59 years.
Fine, here's the sentence, courtesy of Indians manager Manny Acta.
"I feel like we've found our own Pedroia, Utley or something in between," Acta said.
In his first 16 games in the big leagues, Kipnis has hit .295 with six home runs, 11 RBI and a 1.014 OPS. Not bad for a guy who started off 2-for-19.
Of course, Pedroia started even slower, batting .191 in his 31-game late-season trial in 2006.
"I talked to him when we were in Boston," Kipnis said. "He calmed me down."
Indians people say Kipnis has the same toughness that makes Pedroia and Utley so good. They say there's plenty of power, and even opposite-field power that Kipnis hasn't yet shown in his first month in the big leagues.
And they love the way he plays.
"He's a gamer," Acta said. "He's a dirtbag."
Maybe he's Utley. Or Pedroia.
Or something in between.
Posted on: May 22, 2011 4:23 pm
Edited on: May 22, 2011 4:41 pm
The Phillies already have the best record in the National League.
Now Chase Utley is coming back.
Utley, who missed all of spring training and the first seven weeks of the regular season with a knee injury, will make his 2011 debut Monday night against the Reds. The Phillies announced the move after Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Rangers. To make room for Utley on the roster, the Phillies optioned Pete Orr to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Also, in another expected move, the Phillies put Joe Blanton on the disabled list and recalled Vance Worley, who is expected to start in Blanton's place on Tuesday night.
While the Phillies have survived without Utley, there's no doubt that their offense could use a boost. The Phillies have scored just 15 runs in their last nine games, and Sunday's shutout loss was the their fourth of the season.
Utley went 9-for-32 (.281) in nine rehabilitation games for Class A Clearwater, with two doubles and one home run. The Phillies have suggested that he may need extra days off, at least for the next few weeks.
The Phillies have listed Utley's condition as right knee tendinitis/chondromalacia. He saw a string of specialists this spring, and there was some question about whether he would be able to play at all this year.
Blanton is on the DL for the second time this year. He missed two weeks with an elbow problem, came back and made two starts, then scratched from his next start just before gametime when the elbow flared up again.
Worley pitched well in Blanton's absence before, winning both his starts while allowing just one run in 12 innings.
Posted on: May 20, 2011 8:48 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 9:04 pm
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies still aren't saying when Chase Utley will make his 2011 debut.
But don't be surprised if it comes Monday night against the Reds.
All general manager Ruben Amaro would say Friday is that Utley is going to play again for Class A Clearwater on Saturday night, and that the Phillies will reassess Utley's situation after that.
Utley has played in seven games for Clearwater, and while his numbers are only ordinary (he's 6-for-24 with a double, a home run and six strikeouts), the Phillies have been impressed with how he has looked. Also, Amaro has said that it's not important for Utley to play at any other minor-league level before coming to the Phillies.
Amaro also said it's not important for Utley to play more than two days in a row in the minor leagues, because he may not be asked to play that many consecutive games in the big leagues. The Phillies believe that they may need to give Utley extra days off, at least at the outset.
"I don't know if he's ever going to be 100 percent, because of the nature of the injury," Amaro said. "He's progressing, and he hasn't gone backwards. He's gone north, not south."
Utley missed all of spring training because of a knee problem that also cost him the first seven weeks of the season.
Monday might be the perfect night for Utley's 2011 debut, anyway. The Reds' scheduled starter that night is Bronson Arroyo, and Utley's career numbers against Arroyo are 5-for-12, with a home run.
Posted on: May 19, 2011 2:19 pm
NEW YORK -- Some day very soon, Chase Utley will rejoin the Phillies lineup.
What will that mean?
"Everything," Jayson Werth said Thursday. "He's that type of player."
Werth and Utley were teammates for four years, before Werth left as a free agent to sign with the Nationals.
"He's a game-changer," Werth said. "They are not too many like him. He brings a mentality and work ethic to the workplace that's unparalleled from anyone I've ever played with."
Utley missed all of spring training and the first six week of the season with a knee injury, but he is six games into a rehabilitation assignment at Class A Clearwater.
He played nine innings Wednesday night, and the Phillies said he is scheduled to play nine innings again Thursday night. It doesn't appear that he'll be back for the start of this weekend's series against the Rangers, but at this point it would be a surprise if he doesn't make it back before the Phillies end their current homestand next week against the Reds.
Posted on: May 13, 2011 11:42 am
Edited on: May 13, 2011 11:47 am
The Phillies have activated catcher Carlos Ruiz from the disabled list.
Next up, Roy Oswalt and Chase Utley.
Ruiz, Oswalt and Utley all played for Class A Clearwater on Thursday night, on minor-league rehabilitation assignments. Ruiz had missed just the last 12 games with a lower back strain, so it's no surprise that he's back quickly. The Phillies needed a catcher, anyway, because backup Brian Schneider just went on the DL with a left hamstring strain.
The Phillies have been careful not to put a timetable on Utley's return, but it's worth remembering that his rehab assignments have tended to be brief. This one figures to be a little longer, because Utley missed all of spring training and hasn't played yet this year, but he hit a home run in the Class A game Thursday.
"So far, so good," Utley told reporters, according to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly.
Oswalt's status is also uncertain, because he struggled to find his velocity in five innings Thursday. The Phils had been hoping that Oswalt could return to the rotation Tuesday in St. Louis.
Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:24 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2011 1:36 pm
For five straight years, the Phillies have traded for a starting pitcher at midseason.
Is this the July they deal for a hitter?
If the last eight games represent what the Phillies really are offensively -- just 23 runs and a .540 team OPS, with only 10 extra-base hits -- then maybe they do. Even before the Phillies lost the first two games of this week's series with the Brewers, manager Charlie Manuel was bemoaning his team's lack of power.
As Manuel pointed out, Ryan Howard is the only true home run threat in the lineup right now. As one scout following the Phillies said, "The left fielder [Raul Ibanez] isn't the same guy, and right now the shortstop [Jimmy Rollins] isn't the same guy."
So they need help? Again, that depends.
It depends on whether Chase Utley can come back -- it seems now that he will, although Phillies people say Utley's condition seems to vary by the day -- and more than that it depends on whether Utley can hit as he did pre-injury.
"Utley's hit 33 home runs before," Manuel said. "He hits 25-30 home runs [in a regular year]."
That would be huge, because as Manuel said, "We've got some guys who hit 10-15 home runs. I don't know if we have anyone [besides Howard] who hits 25-30."
There are other ways to win, and despite their lack of power, the Phillies went into Wednesday's afternoon game against the Brewers with the second-best record in the National League, at 10-6.
The rotation of aces has pitched pretty much as expected, and will almost certainly keep the Phillies in contention -- at the very least -- until they figure out their offense.
"I think the Dodgers [of the 1960s] used to prove you can win with pitching and defense," Manuel said. "But Maury Wills stole 85 bases a year."
Jimmy Rollins used to steal 40-plus bases for the Phillies. But there are questions about whether Rollins can be that player anymore and, in any case, Manuel now has Rollins batting third, where he has fewer base-stealing opportunities.
Does he need help? Do the Phillies need help?
Posted on: April 18, 2011 6:35 pm
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies still won't even guess at when Chase Utley will return.
But at least it does feel like he will be back.
Part of the reason is that there's finally some visible progress. After two months where Utley mostly took batting practice and fielded ground balls while sitting on a stool, he has started running.
And, apparently, he's tired of not being able to play.
"I can tell he's definitely getting antsy," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Monday.
Imagine how he'd feel if the Phillies were the team that started off 2-10.
Instead, the Phils entered play Monday with a 10-4 record, good for first place in the National League East and second-best in the National League behind the Rockies. While Utley is, as usual, driven to come back, at least he doesn't feel that he needs to return fast to save his team.
Last year, Utley sped up the process of his rehab, and some in the Phillies organization believed he went too fast. The team is determined not to allow him to do it again, and those who know Utley say that he knows that now, too.
But there's no doubt that the more the Phillies win, the easier it will be to keep Utley on a schedule that the medical people recommend.
"I think that's good," Manuel said. "I know how much value he puts on the team winning."
There's no doubt that the Phillies miss Utley's bat. Wilson Valdez has filled in admirably at second base, but without Utley, and with Raul Ibanez and Jimmy Rollins off to slow power starts, the Phils don't have much home-run power in their lineup, aside from Ryan Howard.
Through 14 games, the Phillies have hit just 11 home runs, ranking 11th in the NL. Howard has three, but Rollins has yet to hit one (and has just one RBI), and Ibanez has only one homer.