Cliff Lee is ready, but Chase Utley is still a ways away

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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.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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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.