Toward the end of spring training, nobody seemed to have any idea when Chase Utley might return to the Philadelphia Phillies' lineup. But there was some ominous mention of the All-Star break, which then seemed (and still seems) a long ways off.
Today it looks like Utley will return before Memorial Day. From Philadelphia Sports Daily:
The Phillies wouldn't confirm that Monday would mark the return of Chase Utley, but it's looking more and more likely.
Manager Charlie Manuel said on Saturday that Utley is "really close." With the way things have gone offensively for the Phillies, Utley's debut on the field can't come quickly enough. But it will be at least Monday before that happens.
Utley played in nine games with Class A Clearwater during his rehab stint, batting .281 and performing his various duties without any physical problems. Upon rejoining the parent club, Utley might not immediately hit (or field) like his old self, but it's hard to figure he won't be welcomed back. The Phillies' second baseman -- mostly Wilson Valdez and Pete Orr -- currently rank last in the National League with a 551 OPS.