“On Friday, the Phillies announced injured second baseman Chase Utley was headed for Clearwater, Fla., to work on swinging a bat and fielding grounders. One day later, he did much more than that.
Utley returned to the field for the first time since June 29 in a rehab game for Single-A Clearwater, going 1-for-3 with a triple in five innings of action. He’ll be back at work today, likely playing seven innings, assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said, and should see action in a doubleheader Monday for the team. By Tuesday, it’s possible Utley could be back in the Phillies lineup — nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.
“The plan right now is to play Saturday, Sunday, Monday, then re-evaluate,” Proefrock said. “He’s going to tell us when he’s ready, but everything has gone according to the timeline as far the healing process.”
Utley underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb July 1 with initial estimates predicting an eight-week timetable to return to action. He had a splint removed from the injured thumb last week, then met Wednesday in New York with doctors who cleared him to begin swinging a bat again. By Friday, manager Charlie Manuel said Utley was simply taking some light swings, but that escalated quickly to Tuesday’s possible return to the Philadelphia lineup.”
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