By Evan Brunell
GM Ruben Amaro said it's possible Utley could start jogging within the next few days which would be a major leap forward.
If he starts running, that’s a big step," Amaro said. "He hasn’t even jogged. He’s done some underwater stuff. But we haven’t gotten him to run normal resistance. Once he does that, [his return] could happen fast. But it might take a while for him to get there."
Utley isn't standing around doing nothing despite his lack of jogging -- he's been taking batting practice and ground balls and is showing improvement across the board.
That said, don't expect a timetable to be established for Utley. First things first is actually being able to jog. Second will be full game-ready motion and then a rehab assignment. Still, the progress Utley has made so far has to be a positive given the doom-and-gloom possibilities that have been bandied about.
"I think we’re going to get him back. It’s just a matter of when," Amaro said. "We’re willing to be very patient with him. I want him for July-August-September, hopefully October.
"If we stay in this thing, hold our own offensively, it’s like making a trade, like getting a quality bat in the middle of the year. I don’t have a whole lot of flexibility to do much of anything else."
No kidding, as the Phillies' $173 million payroll ranks second in all of baseball behind (who else?) the Mets. Even the Red Sox are behind Philadelphia in the No. 3 spot with a $161 million payroll. The Phillies have spread themselves thin and need Utley to come back strong to have a good chance of postseason success.