From Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly comes word that second baseman Chase Utley underwent an MRI on his right knee Saturday.
The test showed no structural damage, but Utley is battling patellar tendinitis and won’t play in the Phillies’ first handful of Grapefruit League games.
The Phillies are also going to limit the amount of running and fielding drills that he participates in for the next week, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Utley, 32, played in only 115 games last season, but that was because of a thumb injury. This new knee issue should blow over with several days of rest and rehab. He was not administered a cortisone or lubricant shot and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. didn’t sound all that concerned when he addressed the matter on Sunday morning in camp.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.