Chase Utley given cortisone shot for ailing right knee

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According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced this morning that Chase Utley was given a cortisone shot in his ailing right knee on Friday.

Utley has yet to play in a Grapefruit League game due to patellar tendinitis in his right knee. The Phillies hope Utley sees some improvement over the weekend, but Amaro suggested this morning that “perhaps” there’s something more than tendinitis going on. On the bright side, the 32-year-old second baseman was able to participate in batting practice this morning.

It’s much too early to panic, but could this be the first sign that this season won’t go exactly as planned? As they say, that’s why they play the games.

MRI reveals rib inflammation for Anthony Rizzo

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Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo underwent an MRI on Tuesday that revealed rib inflammation on his left side, Maddie Lee of NBC Sports Chicago reports. Rizzo has been dealing with back soreness for the last week and has missed several intrasquad games as a result.

Rizzo is unsure if he can avoid opening the regular season on the injured list. He said, “I’ll do everything I can to stay off of it, obviously. … Every game’s important. So, we’ve got to get off to a good start and hopefully I’m out there with the guys. I plan on it, but you can’t control it and you’ve got to be smart.”

Rizzo, who turns 31 years old next month, is coming off of another highly productive season in which he hit .293/.405/.520 with 27 home runs, 94 RBI, and 89 runs scored over 613 plate appearances. In the event he needs to open the season on the IL, Victor Caratini figures to get the first crack at handling first base.

The Cubs missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2014, finishing in third place with a 84-78 record. Rizzo, no doubt, will play a big role if the Cubs are to find themselves back in the postseason.