The Phillies have been cautious and quiet during Chase Utley's 10-week long rehab from chronic right knee pain. Since the five-time All-Star was first sidelined, just as games began being played in spring training in late February, the team and the second basemen kept their agenda close to the vest. But Charlie Manuel might have let the proverbial cat out of the bag on Tuesday afternoon.
Shortly after Utley took part in his second semi-simulated game in three days, Manuel said his injured infielder was ready for an official rehab assignment.
"It went good -- it was very good," Manuel said. "It might be time to let him go somewhere, like Clearwater or something, get into a broader, bigger routine."
Both Utley and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. were a bit more guarded when asked about the possibility of taking the rehab to extended spring training.
"I think there's still a little time before that point... we haven't looked that far ahead," Utley said. "But so far so good on what we've been doing."
"We don't have any plan for him until we find out how he feels (Wednesday)," Amaro said. "And then we'll figure it out."
Throughout his injury, Utley has been able to take batting practice. But in the last three weeks, he's added running to his pregame routine.
During his semi-simulated games, as Amaro termed them, Utley has hit against live pitching, fielded ground balls, taken relay throws and ran the bases.
"What we've been doing, I think, has been working," Utley said. "We just have to stick with it."
Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.