UPDATE: Utley to be activated Monday
UPDATE: Utley is officially back Monday. The Phillies optioned Pete Orr after Sunday's loss and will activate Utley before Monday's game.
Also, Vance Worley will make Joe Blanton's next start Tuesday as Blanton goes on the disabled list.
A clubhouse attendant spent about 10 minutes Sunday morning unpacking the contents of Chase Utley's bag, the last remnants of his 16-day stay in Florida.
No, the Phillies second baseman has not been activated from the disabled list. But he has arrived at Citizens Bank Park, signaling his rehab is nearing an end.
He will meet with team doctors and athletic trainers to decide the next step in this recovery process from patellar tendinitis that has prevented him from playing in a game since last October.
It's expected Utley is in the lineup Monday.
He declined to comment through a team spokesman Sunday, presumably because he will wait to speak until he is actually activated from the disabled list.
Utley will not play every day upon his return. Both Ruben Amaro Jr. and Charlie Manuel have spoken at length about a management plan to ensure Utley's injury does not flare up.
He played nine games at single-A Clearwater, and batted 9 for 32 (.281). He stole a base, beat out an infield single, turned double plays and did all of this without significant pain the following day.
When Utley is activated, Pete Orr is the likely man out. Orr has played often, epsecially against righties, but he has an option remaining. Both Wilson Valdez and Michael Martinez would have to be exposed on waivers to be sent to the minors. Orr does not.
No one knows how frequently Utley will be able to play and if there will be limitations for the rest of this season, or even his career. But No. 26 should be in the lineup Monday and that is comforting for the Phillies and their fans.
A few other injury notes:
Brad Lidge and Brian Schneider leave for Clearwater, Fla., later today and will continue their rehabs there. Lidge (torn rotator cuff) has thrown a few bullpens in Philadelphia and expects to pitch in extended spring training games. He's still a few weeks away from returning.
Schneider (strained left hamstring) said he is not ready for game action and does not know when he will be.
Jose Contreras will pitch in his third rehab game, Monday at triple-A Lehigh Valley. He'll likely be activated Tuesday.
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