Is Chase Utley’s knee worse than the Phillies are letting on?

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The Phillies have officially refused to press the panic button with respect to Chase Utley’s wonky knee.  The official word: there may be something more going on than mere soreness and tendinitis, but they are hoping for some improvement soon. Today, however, Paul Hagen says that “the fret level around Bright House Field is a lot higher than the public What-Us-Worry? posture suggests.”  He goes on to outline the Phillies potential moves to deal with a longer-than-expected Utley absence.

The “fret level” thing is impossible for any of us to verify, of course. I think the larger discussion of injuries and alternatives — for Utley and anyone else —  is more interesting, though, because it could tell us more about the Phillies chances this year than anything else. It’s easy to look at the Phillies’ roster and write them down as the NL East champs in ink, but it’s also the case that this team is older than most contenders. Any team is sunk if it suffers injuries, but older teams are more likely to have injuries.

Last year there was a serious case for Charlie Manuel to win Manager of the Year because he held the team together despite a bunch of injuries during the pre-Oswalt months of the season.  If Utley is hurt worse than we think and if other veteran Phillies hands suffer maladies, Cholly may have to reach into his bag of tricks again.

Former major league pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez dies in traffic accident

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Former Phillies right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez died in a traffic accident in Havana on Thursday, per reports from the El Nuevo Herald and CiberCuba. No other deaths or injuries have been reported in connection to the accident. Gonzalez was 34 years old.

The Cuban righty defected from his home country in 2013 and signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies. A bout of right shoulder tendinitis compromised his bid for a major league role, but he finally broke through to the big leagues at the tail end of the 2014 season and turned in a 6.75 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 in just six outings. Another case of shoulder inflammation derailed any progress he might have made in 2015, however, and he recorded just five innings in Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the team officially released him prior to the 2016 season.

The Phillies released a statement following news of Gonzalez’s death: