Cliff Lee is ready, but Chase Utley is still a ways away

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Cliff Lee successfully completed a bullpen session Saturday morning and is expected to make his return to the rotation Wednesday after missing three turns with a strained oblique.

Unfortunately, the news wasn’t quite so good as it pertained to Chase Utley. Manager Charlie Manuel said Friday that Utley would report to Clearwater early next week, but Utley said Saturday he’ll remain with the Phillies for a bit longer. When he does go to Clearwater and the Phillies’ minor league facility, it’ll be because he’s ready to play in games. However, he doesn’t yet have any timetable for when that will happen. Utley has been out since the spring with chronic knee problems.

With Freddy Galvis struggling mightily at the plate — he’s hitting .185/.214/.284 in 81 at-bats — the Phillies have recently started giving Pete Orr more playing time at second base.

Kyle Kendrick figures to move to back to the pen to make room for Lee in the rotation.

Report: Mariners interested in Asdrubal Cabrera

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Matt Ehalt of The Record reports that the Mariners may have some interest in acquiring second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets. The club hasn’t confirmed anything of the kind, naturally, but the prevailing thought is that they’ll need some insurance at second base if they reach the playoffs, since Cano’s current 80-game suspension precludes him from participating in any postseason series.

On Friday, club GM Jerry Dipoto revealed that Cano will likely return to the team as a first baseman once his suspension expires, while second baseman/outfielder Dee Gordon is slated to remain at the keystone for the foreseeable future. With the infield all but set in stone, however, Dipoto said that acquiring position players at this year’s deadline isn’t likely to be a “primary concern,” especially as the team focuses on strengthening their pitching staff prior to making a run at the postseason.

Still, there’s a case to be made for Cabrera. The 32-year-old second baseman has already improved on some of last year’s totals and is currently batting .282/.335/.492 with 17 home runs (16 more than Gordon has tallied so far in 2018), 21 doubles and an .827 OPS in 385 plate appearances. He could provide some much-needed support behind Gordon until Cano’s suspension lifts on August 14; following the end of the 2018 season, he’s scheduled to enter the free agent pool for 2019.