According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Chase Utley went 1-for-4 with a single as the designated hitter in his first minor league rehab game with High-A Clearwater earlier tonight.
Utley had two strikeouts and a ground out over his first three at-bats, but managed to bloop a single to center field in his final at-bat in the bottom of the eighth inning.
As Aaron mentioned earlier this afternoon, Utley was cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment after reporting no problems while playing in extended spring training games on Saturday and Monday.
We’ll obviously know a lot more about his timetable once he begins playing back-to-back games in the field, but Jim Salisbury of CSNPhiladelphia.com speculates that it’s possible he returns during the Phillies’ upcoming homestand, which runs from May 18-26.
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.
Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.
Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.
Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.