In a terrible blow to the many half-dozens of Wilson Valdez and Pete Orr fans in the greater Philadelphia area, Chase Utley is back in the starting lineup Monday night, hitting second for the Philadelphia Phillies. Via SB Nation Philly, who have been all over Chase Utley returning, here is the long-anticipated visual evidence:
Utley played nine games in Class A Clearwater on a rehab assignment, getting 32 at-bats and managing a .281/.361/.438 line with six strikeouts. Otherwise he hasn't played at all this spring, as he came to camp with knee problems that prevented him playing even in exhibition games.
The scariest thing for the NL East and the rest of the National League is that the Phillies were 28-18 without Utley. While it might take him a bit to get to 100 percent, all he has to do to improve the Phillies is out-hit Wilson Valdez, whose OPS was 20 points lower than that of Cole Hamels entering Monday's game against Cincinnati.