Surgery For Utley, Manuel Suspended

The news that everybody didn’t want to hear came true today.  Phillies second basemen Chase Utley had surgery on his injured thumb and will miss a minimum of eight weeks.  Utley will wear a splint during the first five weeks.  Utley suffered the injury sliding into second base against the Cincinnati Reds earlier in the week.  It was also learned that Placido Polanco has chronic tendinitis and will rest his elbow for two weeks.  It is likely that Polanco will be out three to four weeks.

This puts the Phillies into an interesting position with both Utley and Polanco being out for an extended period of time.  The Phillies’ current choices for replacements are Wilson Valdez, Juan Castro, and Greg Dobbs.  I believe Manuel will stick with Valdez and play him at second or third base.  That still leaves another infield spot up for grabs.  It’s hard to imagine Greg Dobbs playing third base for more than a month.  It’s possible that Ruben Amaro Jr. could seek a trade for an adequate infield replacement. 

Names that have been tossed around include Ty Wigginton, Jhonny Peralta, and Kelly Johnson.  I’d personally like to see Amaro go after Ty Wigginton.  In 72 games for the Orioles this season, Wigginton is batting .262 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs.  He could fill in at third base for Polanco then shift over to second base when Polanco returns.  He also provides some right-handed power off the bench.  Wigginton wouldn’t command neitherly as much in terms of trade value.  A lower level prospect or two could easily land Wigginton in red pinstripes.

On a less serious note, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has been suspended one game for a verbal altercation with umpire C.B. Bucknor during Wednesday’s game.  Manuel was suspended for inappropriate contact with Bucknor.  He will serve the one game ban tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates

CB

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