The Phillies continue to talk with free-agent lefthander Jamie Moyer about a new contract, but the parties have yet to reach an agreement.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he remains hopeful Moyer will be back.

One baseball source said late last week that the Phillies and Moyer were close to an agreement. But another source said yesterday that the Phillies recently had contacted other free-agent starting pitchers such as righthanders Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett.

It is unclear how interested the Phillies are in either Lowe or Burnett, but the Phillies at the very least seem to be covering their bases while they search for common ground with Moyer.

Moyer, 46, went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 33 starts last season.

Lowe, 35, is a hot commodity on the open market. He went 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reports are that Lowe is seeking a five-year contract worth around $15 million per season.

Burnett, 31, who went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA with the Toronto Blue Jays, also is believed to be seeking at least a five-year contract.

Amaro on Utley surgery.

Amaro sounded optimistic last week that Chase Utley would need closer to four months than six months to recover from surgery on his right hip.

His optimism hasn't waned.

"I'm pleased there were no surprises," Amaro said yesterday. "We're optimistic that he'll be back and shouldn't miss a significant portion of the season. I would be surprised if he did not return until June. That would be very surprising, although a lot will depend on how he reacts to the surgery and how the overall rehab goes."

Utley had surgery Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. The Phillies said Utley had an "arthroscopic debridement of his labrum and a bony lesion that was present."

Hip specialist Bryan Kelly, who preformed the surgery, reported that the procedure went well and his findings were consistent with the diagnostic studies found before surgery.

Utley's recovery time remains four to six months, although, as Amaro said, the Phillies think Utley can return closer to the four-month mark. Utley could begin baseball activities in three months.

Four months from yesterday would have Utley back March 25. The Phillies open the 2009 season April 5 against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

Third baseman Pedro Feliz, who had surgery on his lower back last Thursday, is expected to need eight to 12 weeks to recover. Amaro said he expected Feliz to be ready for spring training.

The Phillies said Feliz had a lumbar discectomy on the L4-5 disk, which Robert Watkins performed in Los Angeles.

"He should be 100 percent and not have any issues with range of motion," Amaro said. "We don't see any degenerative issues with his back."

Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki at 215-854-4874 or

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