Chase Utley set to come off the disabled list tonight

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Out since late June following surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, Chase Utley has finished a brief minor league rehab assignment and is expected to return from the disabled list tonight against the Giants.
Utley went 3-for-12 with two extra-base hits in four games rehabbing at Single-A and will be examined by doctors this morning, with the assumption being that they’ll clear him to play.
Wilson Valdez has started 33 of 43 games at second base in Utley’s absence, hitting just .248 with a .297 on-base percentage and .349 slugging percentage for a .646 OPS that is 252 points below Utley’s career mark.
Despite that dropoff in production the Phillies have gone 26-17 (.605) without Utley, which is actually better than their 40-34 (.541) record before he went down, and during that time they’ve trimmed the Braves’ division lead from 3.5 games to 2.5 games.

Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base upon return from DL

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Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets may move Asdrubal Cabrera to second base when he returns from the disabled list. Cabrera has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a sprained left thumb, but he’s expected to be activated on Friday.

Cabrera, 31, last played second base in 2014 with the Nationals. He has played shortstop exclusively as a Met the last two seasons. Jose Reyes would continue to play shortstop if the Mets were to go through with the position change. Cabrera would displace T.J. Rivera, who has been playing second base in place of the injured Neil Walker.

In 196 plate appearances this season, Cabrera is hitting .244/.321/.392 with six home runs and 20 RBI. He has made 11 defensive errors, which is tied for the third-most among shortstops behind Tim Anderson (16) and Dansby Swanson (12).

Corey Knebel sets modern record for consecutive appearances with a strikeout

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Brewers closer Corey Knebel set a modern major league record for relievers to start a season, as Thursday’s appearance marked his 38th consecutive appearance with a strikeout. He set down the side in order in the ninth inning, striking Josh Bell out to start the frame.

Aroldis Chapman held the record previously, recording a strikeout in his first 37 appearances of the season in 2014 with the Reds.

Knebel, 25, has flown under the radar despite having an incredibly good season. He moved into the closer’s role in mid-May when Neftali Feliz, now a free agent, struggled. After Thursday’s appearance, Knebel is 12-for-15 in save chances with a 0.96 ERA and a 65/17 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.