MIAMI - Five years ago, on May 22, 2008, Jayson Werth felt a sharp pain in his right side during a game in Houston. Two days later, he was placed on the disabled list with a right oblique injury and eventually returned in 2 weeks.
In 2009, Carlos Ruiz was out for 23 games with an oblique injury. In 2010, Joe Blanton missed the first month of the season with an oblique injury, and Shane Victorino missed 2 weeks with a similar injury in late July.
Cliff Lee suffered a strained left oblique last April and was out of action for a little more than 2 weeks.
Chase Utley was teammates with all of those guys, and, despite the uncertainty he faced before his MRI exam in Philadelphia today, he knows the reality of injuries to the rib-cage area. They almost always end with a trip to the DL.
"I've talked to a few guys on this team who have had it; some guys I played with in the past had it," the Phillies second baseman said while seated in the visiting dugout at Marlins Park yesterday. "The main thing they said was, 'Don't rush back.' That's when you can make it worse and prolong the time you're out."
When the Phillies spend today in Washington with the day off before their first meeting of the season with the Nationals this weekend, Utley will take a break from the road trip to get examined by team doctor Michael Ciccotti in Philly. He'll have an MRI that the team hopes will reveal the severity of the injury.
Since he's never had a similar injury before, Utley couldn't speculate whether the severity of the pain would warrant a DL trip.
"It's really hard to predict how we'll move forward," he said.
But it would be somewhat surprising if Utley were able to avoid the DL. Just the general knowledge of the injury caused Utley to take himself first out of the batting cage and then out of Tuesday night's lineup following a few painful swings.
"After the fourth swing, I realized something wasn't right," Utley said. "That's when I told [manager] Charlie [Manuel] I have some pain in my side. He told me to go see Scott [Sheridan, the head athletic trainer]. He took me out of the game. I think it was a smart thing to do.
"You want to be careful with these things, because they could linger and get worse if you try to play through it. I think we caught it early enough, but it's hard to know until we have some imaging on it."
Utley said the initial burning sensation in his right side "definitely scared" him. He said he felt no different yesterday, when he was out of the starting lineup for the second straight night.
If today's testing reveals an oblique strain that warrants a DL trip, the Phils almost certainly will add a hitter to the active roster before this weekend's series in Washington. Since the trip continues in Boston, where the Phillies will utilize a designated hitter, slugging Triple A outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf could be on the Phillies' radar.
Ruf, 26, hit 38 home runs between Double A and Triple A last season and then three more in 12 games with the Phillies in September. He enters today hitting .263 with a .341 OBP and five home runs in 42 games with the IronPigs this season, although he was mired in a 1-for-25, six-game skid.
Talented infield prospect Cesar Hernandez also could warrant a look: He's hitting .320 with a .386 OBP, .842 OPS and 12 stolen bases in 14 attempts at Triple A Lehigh. But Hernandez, who turns 24 today, would probably be best served by playing every day as a developing player, and the Phils have an everyday second baseman in waiting in Freddy Galvis if Utley is sidelined.
Pete Orr and Michael Martinez are other options, although neither is on the 40-man roster.
The Phils obviously hope they won't have to make a roster move at all. But in examining the recent history of Phillies players who have had oblique injuries, a DL trip would seem to be inevitable for Utley.
Mike Adams walked into the visiting clubhouse at Marlins Park drenched in sweat. Originally scheduled to throw a bullpen session today in Clearwater, Adams felt well enough to move it up a day.
But Adams' attempt to return from the DL on Sunday, the first day he can be activated, was swatted down by his pitching coach. Rich Dubee told reporters Adams would return to the Phillies bullpen no earlier than Tuesday, when the team wraps up its eight-game road trip in Boston.
Dubee said Adams would throw a bullpen session tomorrow in Clearwater and then pitch in a rehab game with Class A Clearwater on Monday. Adams, who hasn't pitched since May 10, was placed on the 15-day DL with a right back strain on Monday.
Curt Schilling will be the 2013 inductee to the Phillies' Wall of Fame during Alumni Weekend at Citizens Bank Park (Aug. 1-4). Schilling went 101-78 with a 3.35 ERA in nine seasons with the Phillies from 1992-2000. Schilling went to three All-Star Games as a Phillie and racked up 61 complete games in 226 starts with the team. He'll be joined by fellow 1993 NL pennant winners Darren Daulton, Jim Eisenreich, Tommy Greene and Larry Andersen at Alumni Weekend . . . Brad Lidge also will return to Philadelphia during Alumni Weekend and officially retire as a Phillie. Lidge, who was a perfect 48-for-48 in save chances in 2008, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Aug. 1 . . . John Lannan (strained quadriceps tendon, left knee) will throw to hitters for the first time next Wednesday in Clearwater. Lannan was placed on the DL on April 18.