Cliff Lee successfully completed a bullpen session Saturday morning and is expected to make his return to the rotation Wednesday after missing three turns with a strained oblique.
Unfortunately, the news wasn’t quite so good as it pertained to Chase Utley. Manager Charlie Manuel said Friday that Utley would report to Clearwater early next week, but Utley said Saturday he’ll remain with the Phillies for a bit longer. When he does go to Clearwater and the Phillies’ minor league facility, it’ll be because he’s ready to play in games. However, he doesn’t yet have any timetable for when that will happen. Utley has been out since the spring with chronic knee problems.
With Freddy Galvis struggling mightily at the plate — he’s hitting .185/.214/.284 in 81 at-bats — the Phillies have recently started giving Pete Orr more playing time at second base.
Kyle Kendrick figures to move to back to the pen to make room for Lee in the rotation.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.