Chase Utley “doubtful” for opening day

Chase Utley had been limited to batting practice only during spring training. Now, it appears he may be out for an extended period. (Kathy Willens/AP)

It is starting to look as though the end of an era might be occurring in Philly a bit earlier than expected. Starting second baseman Chase Utley has once again had another “setback” after the past two years of injuries.

This is horrible news for the Phils who are without starting first baseman Ryan Howard for what will probably be most of the first half of the season. With regards to Utley’s status, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., said, “Chase’s rehab process has come to a bit of a plateau. He has made some strides but not enough to take the field. He is headed out of town for a few days to be evaluated by a specialist that has helped athletes overcome his issue. We anticipate that this trip will allow him to build on what he has already done with Scott Sheridan in order to get over the hump. He wants more than anything to be on the field with his teammates and we believe that this is a step in that direction.”

It is great to hear that he wants to be out there, but, seriously, what good does that do? The Phillies offense has gone through many dry spells in the past, and taking the number three and four hitters out for most of the year will be a huge obstacle, and it also puts a ton of pressure on the only real hitter in the middle of the lineup, Hunter Pence.

One positive is top-prospect Freddy Galvis seems to be the next in line to start at second on opening day. Galvis has been considered the eventual replacement for shortstop Jimmy Rollins, however, when Rollins re-signed with the Phillies during this offseason, Galvis asked to be played at second and third in order to try to make the big-league roster. Nice career move kid!

It is sad that one of the guys who carried the Phillies over the last decade is becoming just another player who washed up and disappeared. His performances in the 2008 and 2009 World Series have made him a legend in Philadelphia, where he will always be welcomed with open arms. Let’s hope for the best to come from this situation, but it isn’t looking good so far.

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