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.

Blue Jays acquire Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals

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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.