Chase Utley nearing return from disabled list

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At least that’s how it seems right now.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told David Hale of the Wilmington News Journal that Chase Utley would be the designated hitter with High-A Clearwater tonight before playing in the field again Saturday. After that? They’ll “reassess” where he’s at.

Utley has yet to play in three consecutive games in the field during his minor league rehab assignment, but Amaro doesn’t think that would necessary stand in the way of his return.

“Frankly I don’t know how many games he’s going to play three in a row here.,” Amaro said. “We may be in a situation when he comes in the big leagues where he’s one game on, one game off, two games on, one game off. He might play three games – I don’t know. A lot will depend on how he feels. But I think we’re going to have to monitor him when he gets here.”

Hm, sounds like he could be back sooner rather than later wouldn’t you say?

By the way, entering tonight’s action, Phillies’ second basemen are batting a pathetic .234/.284/.290 with a .574 OPS this season. Yes, the National League’s best team is about to get much better.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.