Phillies Optimistic For Utley's Return

(Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The Phillies used various combinations of players at second base this season, but hope those days have come to an end. Chase Utley is fresh off his rehab assignment with Clearwater and will open his season with the Phillies as they open a four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds.

Chase Utley's return should help a sinking Phillies offense. Thankfully for Charlie Manuel, the wait is over: Utley is due back in the team's lineup Monday.

Following a 2-0 defeat to the Texas Rangers on Sunday, the ninth straight game the Phillies were held to three runs or less, the team announced they would activate Utley from the disabled list on Monday. Utley has been sidelined for the first 46 games of the season with right knee tendinitis and chondromalacia.

"I'm excited to have him back," Manuel said. "He's one of our top hitters. Once we get Chase and (Shane) Victorino back in there, our lineup is going to be much better. We'll get better. They have to help us."

Utley was back in the Phillies clubhouse Sunday morning following a nine-game rehab assignment at Class A Clearwater. Utley hit .281 with one home run and four RBI in nine games with the Threshers. Any offense he could provide the Phillies would be a boost.

Despite taking two of three from the Rangers, the Phils scored five runs in the three game series and have scored just 10 runs in their last seven games. The Phils have been shut out four times in 46 games this season, on pace to break last season's futile mark of 11 shutouts in 162 games.

"We're going to hit, we're going to hit better - we're going to bottom out one of these days," Manuel said. "Hopefully it was today."

"I think we've hit some balls pretty good of late, I think there are signs of life," Raul Ibanez said on whether one player can turn a team around. "I think it's a nice boost when you add Chase Utley to your lineup."


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