Chase Utley Injury Leaves Phillies Searching For Options

Earlier Wednesday, the Phillies released a statement concerning Chase Utley's knee injury. Their conclusion? Utley has bone inflammation, tendinitis, and chondromalacia, or "runner's knee", which refers to pain at the front of the knee caused by the irritation of soft cartilage. No major damage has been identified by any tests, and the team will continue pursuing non-operative treatments.

The problem is that those non-operative treatments have, to date, failed to work. In particular the cortisone shot that Utley recently received. The Phillies and Utley will keep trying, and they'll try new things in an effort to get their star infielder healthy, but the specter of surgery looms down the road in case nothing else is able to work.

In the meantime, the Phillies are left with a roster question. For as long as Utley is out of action, they're down a critical infielder, forcing someone like Wilson Valdez into a starting spot. The team could stay inside the organization and hope for the best. However, in the event that Utley looks set to miss a lot of time, the team could then go outside looking for help. The fact that Placido Polanco can play both second and third gives them more choices. David Eckstein remains a free agent, and there are a handful of potential trade targets, including Texas' Michael Young should the Phillies feel adventurous.

Stay tuned. The Phillies have been considered World Series favorites, but as long as Utley's on the sideline with a frustrating knee injury, the team is significantly weaker.

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