Chase Utley Could Be Out For A While

March 7, 2011 – 2:20 am by Ryan Phillips

Last Saturday Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was diagnosed with patellar tendonitis in his right knee following an MRI. But even after getting a cortisone shot on Friday, the joint has still not gotten any better.

Apparently the Phillies are starting to wonder if Utley has more than just tendonitis. If that’s the case, the team could be in serious trouble heading into the beginning of a season in which it is the odds-on favorite to win the World Series.

If Utley is seriously injured – which is a distinct possibility given his lack of healing thus far – the Phillies will be left scrambling to make a move to plug their hole at second base. While current team members Placido Polanco and Wilson Valdez are each capable of playing second base, it would leave a hole in the lineup and the Phillies would likely seek to make a move via trade instead.

If Utley is out for a long time, that would seriously impact the Phillies’ chances for dominating the season as they are expected to. Utley missed a chunk of last season with a torn ligament in his right thumb. He also missed a month in 2007 with a broken right hand and had hip surgery in November of 2008.

It should concern Phillies fans that two years after hip surgery Utley’s knee is all of a sudden hurting before he’s even started playing in games.

If the Phillies are seriously concerned about Utley they may be forced to make a move to solidify the lineup. Options likely available via trade would include Seattle’s Adam Kennedy, Arizona’s Kelly Johnson, Toronto’s Aaron Hill and Kansas City’s Mike Aviles. Obviously any move would be temporary with a view towards Utley’s eventual return, but the Phillies have put a lot of weight behind a World Series run this year and won’t want to let anything get in their way.

The only problem is, the Phils don’t have much money free to work with unless they move Raul Ibanez or Joe Blanton. Neither looks likely to move any time soon.

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