As expected, the Phillies’ announcement this morning regarding Chase Utley’s knee injury doesn’t contain any good news.
Team trainer Michael Ciccotti issued a statement saying that the knee problems have not responded to treatment as well as they have in the past and “an MRI was obtained that demonstrated his prior tendinitis, chondromalacia, and bone inflammation.”
Ciccotti went on to say that “continued non-operative treatment is being carried out and additional opinions will be obtained.”
In other words, the Phillies will continue to treat the injury without surgery but going under the knife (or “additional options”) may eventually be required.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com has the full statement, which includes a whole bunch of doctorspeak that’s not likely to make Phillies fans feel very good.
As for Utley’s return timetable, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. “wouldn’t rule out Opening Day … but also downplayed the importance of players being ready for Opening Day.”
Which is another way of saying Utley being in the Opening Day lineup is now unlikely and the Phillies are facing the possibility of extended middle infield action for utility man Wilson Valdez for a second straight season. Valdez started 75 games in place of Utley at second base and Jimmy Rollins at shortstop last season, hitting just .258 with a .667 OPS and remarkable 20 double plays in 363 plate appearances.