Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, trying to avoid surgery on his right knee, said Sunday that he is “moving in the right direction.” But at the same time, he acknowledged that he is barely moving at all.
Utley is taking batting practice, but still not running. He will not be close to returning until he starts testing his knee more rigorously. And that day does not appear to be coming anytime soon.
How important is Utley to the Phillies?
Ask his double-play partner, Jimmy Rollins.
“Chase is very important — very important,” Rollins said. “He’s an All-Star player even if he’s not having an All-Star year. On the field, we’re together. It’s like captain and co-captain.
“I bring the swag. But you think of a guy who’s tough. Chase gets hit (by pitches) 18 or 19 times a year and all he does is grit his teeth. You think of Philly being a tough team, that’s who comes up, that’s it.
“It doesn’t mean other guys aren’t tough. But he’s the face of toughness. He wants to go out there and destroy you. You can see it on his face when he’s trying to take someone out at second base. That’s what he brings. Everybody is a part of the puzzle. That’s the part he brings in — that toughness.”
— Ken Rosenthal