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 Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.
Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.
The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.