Utley Begins Rehab Assignment

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Philadelphia Phillies fans are finally hearing the news they want to hear, Chase Utley returns to game action TONIGHT!! Unfortunately it won’t be at the major league level, it will be down in Florida with Class A Clearwater. Regardless, it’s great news as it shows the All-Star second baseman will be back with his teammates soon.

Chase Utley will step up his rehab tonight, making his first official rehab start for Class A Clearwater. This is significant first, because it is his first affiliated game. Second, it will be his first action on back-to-back days. Utley played in extended spring training games on Saturday and Monday. (Philadelphia Daily News)

Utley has appeared in a couple extended Spring Training games and has reported no abnormal pain or discomfort in what was an ailing knee. That’s a good thing, especially since the team really put him too work, he went 6 for 14 with two homers with occasional field action.

What impressed me the most is not the lack of pain but the two homers, as they both came against left handed pitching. In his first game, the Phillies staff made sure he hit against nothing but lefties and he went 5 for 7 with those two homers. That tells me that his vision is there and the swing is ready to go, it’s just making sure he can handle the rigors of fielding and playing nine innings.

That’s truly the last hurdle he has to clear, show he can handle playing nine innings day in and day out. That hurdle is a significant one which is why I’d expect him to be in the minor leagues for a couple weeks. It won’t be your typical two to three game type rehab stint.

Even so, rejoice Phillies fans your lineup is finally going to get the spark it needs.

In other Phillies news, Roy Oswalt and Carlos Ruiz will also be playing for Clearwater on Thursday. If you’re in the Florida area I’d say that’s a game to attend!!

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