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Doc clears utility man Martinez to head to Clearwater

Michael Martinez is the latest Rule 5 pick to make the Phillies' roster. (Yong Kim/staff photographer)
Michael Martinez is the latest Rule 5 pick to make the Phillies' roster. (Yong Kim/staff photographer)Read more

If everything goes according to plan, the Phillies will have a seasoned contingent of veterans training together in Clearwater in the near future. First baseman Ryan Howard is already down at the spring training complex continuing his rehab from a ruptured Achilles. The Phillies hope that second baseman Chase Utley will join him in the near future. Today, injured utility man Michael Martinez will be headed down south after team doctor Michael Ciccotti cleared him to take the next step in his rehab yesterday.

Martinez broke the fourth metatarsal in his right foot when he was hit with a pitch in the seventh inning of a Grapefruit League game against the Orioles on March 20 in Sarasota, Fla.

Martinez was still wearing a walking boot when he showed up in the Phillies' dugout during batting practice, his usual dreadlocks replaced by a buzz cut. The 28-year-old switch-hitter spent all of 2011 on the active roster after the Phillies selected him in the previous December's Rule 5 draft. The utility man saw action in 88 games, hitting .196 with a .258 on base percentage and .282 slugging percentage in 235 plate appearances. He split time between third base, second base, short stop and center field, making at least seven starts at each position. He was expected to make the Opening Day roster as a utility man.

It remains to be seen where Martinez will fit once he is ready for game action. Freddy Galvis has impressed the team with his defensive performance at second base, although he entered last night hitting just .194/.229/.299 in 72 plate appearances. Back-up infielder Pete Orr had three extra base hits in 18 at-bats. The Phillies have the option of sticking with Orr and Galvis, instead sending Martinez to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. A lot will depend on when Chase Utley finally makes it back onto the active roster.