Amaro thinking Chase Utley might be ready by end of May

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The Phillies still aren’t putting an official timetable on Chase Utley’s rehabilitation from patellar tendinitis, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. did offer some optimism on Saturday evening.

According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Amaro told reporters on Saturday afternoon that he’s hopeful Utley will be ready to return to the Phillies’ starting lineup before the end of May.

Utley was cleared to begin a running program only nine days ago and has already progressed to straight-line sprints. He has also been participating in light fielding drills and has avoided setbacks to this point.

The Phillies have been using Wilson Valdez primarily at second base since the regular season began. He got off to a hot start but has just one hit in his last 16 at-bats and is down to a .264/.316/.321 batting line.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.