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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.