PHILADELPHIA - MAY 01: Chase Utley #26 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws to first base for a ninth inning out against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on May 1, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Mets 10-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Chase Utley Returns From Thumb Injury, Activated From DL By Phillies

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Chase Utley Cleared To Swing Bat As He Recovers From Thumb Surgery

Great news for the Phillies as they battle for their postseason hopes:

Chase Utley had a positive medical checkup and has been cleared to swing a bat

Utley had the splint removed from his thumb last Friday, and has been throwing and playing catch for a little while. This, though, is the biggest step in his recovery to date, and he's on track to return in early September, if not at the end of August.

Wilson Valdez - Utley's most oft-used substitute at second - has batted .249/.279/.353 on the year, with fairly good defense, which is about as much as you can ask from a player of his skillset. Utley's return will provide the Phillies with a massive boost.

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Chase Utley's Thumb Surgery Scheduled For Thursday, No Timetable For Return

Chase Utley's thumb surgery -- a surgery that was only just decided would be needed Thursday morning -- is scheduled to take place in New York City later today, according to a release put out by the team.

The next question then becomes, for how long with the second baseman be out of the lineup? Initially, Peter Gammons speculated "five or six weeks." The Phillies have not yet determined a timetable for his return, and won't until they know more after the surgery, but this type of procedure usually requires a recovery period of 4-6 weeks, and "sources ... said he could be sidelined anywhere between 4 and 8 weeks."

That's a long time to be without a four-time All-Star, meaning the Phillies may be forced to make a move before the trade deadline.

The Phillies are actively looking on the trade market for a viable replacement who can provide more of an offensive weapon than Juan Castro , Wilson Valdez or Brian Bocock, the three utility players who are currently on the roster.

Infielders who could be available include Arizona's Kelly Johnson, Baltimore's Ty Wigginton and Miguel Tejada , the Mariners' Jose Lopez and the Indians' Jhonny Peralta.

Utley hit the 15-day DL on Tuesday after injuring his thumb sliding into second in the Phillies game Monday night.


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2010 - Chase Utley 72 264 49 73 13 2 11 37 40 37 5 1 .277 .383 .466

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Chase Utley Needs Surgery On Injured Thumb, Likely Out 5-6 Weeks

Tuesday's bad news -- Chase Utley being put on the 15-day DL with a sprained thumb -- has turned into Thursday's worse news. The second baseman is going to need surgery on that injured thumb, and will be out "five or six weeks," this according to Peter Gammons (via his Twitter).

Utley was scheduled to visit with hand specialist Andrew Weiland in New York today, a day after a meeting with hand specialist Randall Culp in Philadelphia produced inconclusive results.

It is safe to assume that the Phillies will be making a move in the near future to acquire some infield help.

Over at SB Nation's Phillies blog, The Good Phight, "Thumbpocalypse" has begun.

It's hard to understate just how huge the drop-off from Utley to Valdez/Castro will be, but suffice to say, if the Phillies still have playoff aspirations in 2010, some big personnel moves are in order.  Or some of the guys on the current roster are going to have to enter Beast Mode.

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