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.

Report: Yankees J.A. Happ, closing in on a three-year deal

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UPDATE: Rosenthal is now walking the report back a bit, saying that indications that the Yankees and Happ are close to a deal but that it is not yet done.

10:29 AM: Ken Rosenthal reports that the Yankees and J.A. Happ have come to terms on a three-year deal. The agreement is pending a physical. The financial terms are not yet known.

Happ just turned 36, but he has been effective enough to warrant a three-year commitment. The Yankees know this as well as anyone, having acquired him last year and watched him post a 7-0 record and a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts in New York. For the entire season he was 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 193/51 in 177.2 innings between the Yankees and the Blue Jays.

With Happ back in the fold, the Yankees rotation now consists of Luis Severino, James Paxton, Happ, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia, not necessarily in that order. A good group, assuming it stays healthy.