The Philadelphia Phillies are in last place in the NL East. After 17 games, the Phillies have seven wins and the second-lowest runs total in the National League. They could really, really use Chase Utley.
As for Utley? Maybe the best way to explain it is with the teaser text that Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer sent out in a tweet to promote an update on Utley's progress:
Secrets and questions linger in Chase Utley's rehab, but he believes he's made real progress.
There has been an air of mystery about Utley's injury. It hasn't been as simple as "knee contusion - 15 days" -- Utley will be back when his knees can handle it. From Matt Gelb:
"I'm not happy that I'm not playing," Utley, 33, said. "But I'm looking at it from a positive, like I always have. I've definitely gained strength over the past three weeks." Those three weeks have provided optimism for the second baseman. Utley took batting practice with the Phillies at Chase Field before Monday's game. He fielded some ground balls for the first time in two months. He smiled.
And that's the update on Chase Utley: He's trying to strengthen his knees and limit the pain. When will he be back? When his knees are strong enough, and when the pain is gone. How soon will that be? As soon as his knees are strong enough and his pain is gone. He feels like he's making progress, at least.