Utley leaves camp; still having knee problems

Phillies 2B Chase Utley (right) with C Brian Schneider. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Chase Utley has left Clearwater without playing a single at-bat for the Philadelphia Phillies. This has finally created cause for concern that the 33-year-old may not even make the Opening Day roster.

The released a statement today that read:

“Chase’s rehab process has come to a bit of a plateau. He has made some strides but not enough to take the field. He is headed out of town for a few days to be evaluated by a specialist that has helped athletes overcome his issue. We anticipate that this trip will allow him to build on what he has already done with Scott Sheridan in order to get over the hump. He wants more than anything to be on the field with his teammates and we believe that this is a step in that direction.”

The “issue” at hand isn’t being disclosed, a red flag in the Phillies’ statement.

Utley suffered patellar tendinitis last season, a chronic knee condition that is going to bother him for the rest of his career. It’s been too severe for him to handle so far this spring, and it’s a wonder if this is something that’s going to shorten his career in pinstripes.

On Saturday, Utley spoke for the first time to reporters, saying his goal is to play Opening Day in Pittsburgh. Both Ruben Amaro and Charlia Manuel expressed high optimism for Utley to be ready, but it appears that optimism has faded.

“I’m concerned with Chase,” Manuel said last week. “I’m always concerned with Chase. Once we get him to where we want him to be, he can play. But I don’t know when that’s going to be. I want him to be a real good percentage. Will he ever be 100 percent? I don’t know.”

The Phillies Opening Day roster will feature a young middle infielder who was originally slated to be Jimmy Rollins’ replacement. Freddy Galvis is the Opening Day second baseman, Amaro said.

Galvis, 22, is a career short stop. But he’s played most of the spring at second base, flashing his incredible defense in the process.

PHILS RELEASE PINEIRO — The Phillies have parted ways with starting pitcher Joel Pineiro.

Pineiro had allowed five runs, three earned in six innings this spring. He was one of three options for fifth starter heading into camp and hasn’t thrown nearly as many innings has Kyle Kendrick or Joe Blanton, making him useless to the Phillies.


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