Chase Utley suffered a mild right ankle sprain when he stepped on a baseball during a workout in early January, so the Phillies didn’t see a need to rush him into Grapefruit League action. However, he’s finally close to making his spring debut.
According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said this afternoon that Utley could serve as the designated hitter as soon as tomorrow. It’s unclear when he’ll be ready to play the field, but the Phillies at least think he’s ready to hit and run the bases, which likely means that he’s not far off.
Of course, knee issues have been the biggest concern with Utley in recent years, but he appeared in 155 games last season while batting .270/.339/.407 with 11 home runs, 78 RBI, and 10 stolen bases. While he made it through the season healthy, his production suffered greatly as the year moved along. He had a .794 OPS in the first half compared to a .673 OPS after the All-Star break.