Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told David Hale of the Wilmington News Journal earlier today that he believes Chase Utley could soon head to extended spring training to continue his rehab.
Utley has picked up workouts over the past week and has participated in two brief simulated games over the past three days.
“It might be time to let him go somewhere, like Clearwater or something, and start getting into a broader, bigger routine,” Manuel said. “I think he’s doing much better. He’s getting there in how he responds after he does that kind of workout like he did the last couple days. That’s what counts. I definitely think he’s closer than what he was a week or two weeks ago.”
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said there are no set plans to send Utley to extended spring training, but indicated that they’ll know more when they see how the knee responds tomorrow.
“He seemed to do OK again today, and if he’s feeling well tomorrow, we’ll try to take the next step,” Amaro said.
Entering play Tuesday, Phillies’ second basemen have combined to bat just .235/.286/.276 with zero homers, four doubles and a .561 OPS over 98 at-bats so far this season.
The Orioles beat the Blue Jays again on Thursday evening, 4-0, and in doing so eliminated the Yankees and Astros from contention in the American League Wild Card race.
The offense pecked away with a run in each of the third, fourth, seventh, and eighth innings. Starter Ubaldo Jimenez limited the Jays to one hit and three walks with five strikeouts over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Donnie Hart got the final out of the seventh. Brad Brach dominated with two scoreless innings to finish out the ballgame.
The Orioles and Blue Jays are now tied for the first and second Wild Card slots in the AL. The Tigers’ game with the Indians was postponed due to rain and they now sit 1.5 games behind both the O’s and Jays. The Mariners and Athletics game will begin shortly with the Mariners 2.5 games behind.
In a mailbag published on Thursday, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post says he has spoken with Arenado and his agent from the Wasserman Media Group. Based on that, he says the Rockies have not broached the subject of a contract extension with the All-Star third baseman.
Arenado will enter his second of four years of arbitration eligibility after earning $5 million for the 2016 season. He’s due to a hefty pay raise and will continue on that track into free agency after the 2019 season. It may behoove the Rockies to get extension talks started sooner rather than later. Saunders, however, thinks that Arenado wants to see if the Rockies become contenders in the next two seasons before signing the dotted line.
Arenado, 25, enters Thursday’s action batting .293/.361/.567 with 40 home runs, 130 RBI, and 112 runs scored in 678 plate appearances. His 40 homers is best in the National League and the 130 RBI are best in the majors. He has an argument for winning the National League Most Valauble Player Award.