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 Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.