“With Ryan Howard becoming the 15th member of the Phillies to visit the disabled list this season, the team’s offense is looking awfully sparse. But while help isn’t exactly right around the corner, second baseman Chase Utley is making progress after surgery on his thumb in early July.
Utley is scheduled to have a splint removed this week and will then begin some basic rehab work to strengthen his hand.
“He’ll start doing some mobilization stuff, but he’s not close to being ready,” general manager Ruben Amaro said.
Utley was hitting .277 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs when he hit the DL June 29. The original diagnosis suggested Utley would need about eight weeks to recover from surgery to repair the thumb, which he injured sliding into second base, and manager Charlie Manuel said that’s still the schedule for the second baseman.
“I think once he gets to where he starts swinging the bat, it’s going to take him a while,” Manuel said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s right on what they’ve got him on schedule at.”
Left fielder Raul Ibanez, who missed Sunday’s game, was back in the starting lineup Tuesday and said his injured wrist felt fine.
In six of the final eight weeks of the season, the Phillies will get an off day — barring rainouts. That’s good news for Manuel, who sees the setup of the schedule as a chance to maximize his pitching rotation.
With the addition of Roy Oswalt last week, the Phillies now have three strong arms atop their rotation, and Manuel said his goal will be to pitch Oswalt, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels on normal rest — even with off days. That could mean more appearances for the Phillies‘ best pitchers and a few turns in the rotation skipped for Kyle Kendrick or Joe Blanton.”
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