Phillies likely to activate Chase Utley before Monday’s game

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He’s back. Well, almost.

According to Dave Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, second baseman Chase Utley has packed up his things at Single-A Clearwater and is headed back to Philly in anticipation of a Monday activation from the disabled list.

Utley has not played in a major league game this season due to right patellar tendinitis. He spent close to two weeks on a minor league rehab assignment with the Clearwater Threshers, posting a respectable .281/.361/.438 batting line, one home run and four RBI across 36 plate appearances.

The Phillies are likely to demote utilityman Pete Orr to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Monday afternoon to clear a 25-man roster spot. That, or they could designate Wilson Valdez for assignment.

Either way, the Phillies are about to get a big boost offensively and defensively. Utley boasts a stellar .894 career OPS and has finished with more than 90 RBI in five of his eight major league seasons.

Astros release Jon Singleton

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The Astros have released first baseman Jon Singleton, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Singleton, 26, was suspended for 100 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse for a third time. He has had issues with marijuana in the post and admitted to being a drug addict several years ago. He said, “At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict. I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself. I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that. So I have to work against that.”

Singleton played parts of two seasons in the majors in 2014-15 with the Astros, batting a combined .171/.290/.331 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in — appropriately — 420 plate appearances. He spent 2016 with Triple-A Fresno and 2017 with Double-A Corpus Christi, putting up middling numbers.

If he can convince teams he’s still actively working to overcome his addiction, Singleton may be able to find an opportunity elsewhere. But his road back to the majors remains long. He was once a top prospect in the Phillies’ system, then was traded to the Astros in the Hunter Pence deal back in July 2011.