Breaking News: Utley, Feliz To Undergo Surgery

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Thu, November 20, 2008 01:49 PM | Comments: 64

Chase Utley will be out four to six months with hip surgery.

UPDATE (1:05 p.m.): There’s more.

Pedro Feliz will have back surgery.

Well, with Utley, we saw it coming. We thought there was some problem with Utley, as he struggled through the second half. While his defense remained stellar, and he still ran well, his hitting just didn’t seem right.

Now, don’t get crazy, everyone. Likely, Utley will miss Spring Training and use some time to get back in shape. His body is, for what we know, pretty strong and adaptable, so I’d say he should be back in full force by May.

And really, considering how the Phillies fared last season, this was the best scenario for a surgery.

Meanwhile, Feliz will have lower back surgery today. He’ll need up to three months to recover, so he could be back for Spring Training.

I’ll say this — it’s now imperative that the Phillies get a good bat this offseason; moreover, Jason Donald now might be taken off all trading tables.

Avatar of Tim Malcolm

About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Mike S.


  • Posts: 0 Jason

    Knew he was hurt.

  • Posts: 0 Mike S.

    took the words right out of my mouth Tim…

    Welcome to Philly Jason Donald.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    no World Baseball Classic for Chase. Good point on Jason Donald, he’s not going anywhere and if he plays well at the beginning of the season, he could raise his stock for a mid-season trade.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Oh no… We need our team MVP healthy

  • Posts: 0 boxage

    oh no. oh no

    i’m freaking out!!!!!!

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Were gonna see what Amaro’s made of early. Is he going to tie us down to a long-term deal for a LFer as insurance for Utley’s bat, will he convince a top bat to sign to a short-term deal or will he look to the farm and find stop-gaps?

    I don’t look at Donald as a future at third but I see a guy just as much if not more capable than Jed Lowrie. Throwing an idea out there for down the road if Donald has a good glove, we deal Howard with 24-18 months let on his deal which will net the kind of deal the Rangers got for Teixeira, Donald at second which will probably be the best position for him and Utley a potential gold glove 1st basement. In case your instantly thinking that’s crazy, we have more chance grooming a 30/100 3rd basement/corner outfielder than another big 1st basement, Taylor’s no sure thing and there seems to be more young 3rd/outfielders with power coming up than young MVP power 1st basements.

  • Posts: 0 Karch

    Hey, what about Donald starting the season at second base for the Phils?

  • Posts: 0 MA Phanatic

    Personally, I feel we’d be best moving Donald to 2nd until Utley’s back. Send him back down and adjust him to 3rd in the minors, and then bring him back up for the stretch run and let him play full time at 3rd starting in 2010. I believe we have an option for Feliz in 2010 anyways, correct?

  • Posts: 0 Mike S.

    My guess will be Donald plays 2nd.
    I don’t think the Phils will go out and spend for a rental player considering the other needs (left fielder, bullpen depth, Moyer)

    So Donald is the answer…to me of course.
    But like you said NJ….

    we will see what Ruben is made of

  • Posts: 0 bull

    do we know what the surgery was to repair for utley?

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    his hip

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    NJ… I’m on board with that idea much more than trying to move Donald to 3rd-base of the future role. Howard will want WAY TOO MUCH money in any kind of long-term deal, and the Phillies wouldn’t be able to match the price of an AL team, (if we all agree that Howard is a DH in waiting anyway). Utley was never known for his glove coming in the minors, but has learned that position well, if the Phillies move him to 1st base, that lets him concentrate that much more on his hitting in the future, and we’ll see if he can be among the league leaders in Batting Average.

    Here is the Jayson Stark report from the Arizona Fall League (reviews from scouts):
    Phillies shortstop Jason Donald (.414 AVG, .480 OBP, .759 SLG, 5 HRs in 87 ABs): “Very steady shortstop. Has good at-bats. I don’t know how much power he’ll have down the line, but he’s got some strength. He’s the best infielder in that Phillies system by far.”

    I’d say he is the most likely candidate to start the season at 2nd base if Utley can’t.. BUT what does that do to his contract when you send him back down after Utley returns.. does that make him available to any other team, or anything crazy like that? If not, he’s the guy

  • Posts: 0 bull

    i know it was his hip, but i meant was it a ligament, did it break some bone off…any specifics to the injury and surgery?

  • Posts: 580 Brian Michael

    Avatar of Brian Michael

    Hip surgery….Hip F*ckin’ surgery!!!!

  • Posts: 0 From Section 113

    We shoould also look at his body type. He’s small and in shape. He should rebound from surgery fast. I say mid April he’s back.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I haven’t seen what Utley’s surgery is specifically for.. Feliz is having “minimally invasive” surgery to remove a herniated disk in his lower back..

    How these guys play through this stuff is amazing to me.. My mom had that surgery and had trouble with everyday movements… let alone playing baseball (EXTRA baseball too, with the World Series run…)

  • Posts: 0 Heyyy Boys


  • Posts: 0 Craig

    4 – 6 months?

    What’s he getting? a new hip?

  • Posts: 0 bull

    Chase Utley is scheduled for right hip surgery next week and could miss the beginning of 2009.

    It was assumed that Utley’s hip problems played a role in his decline after a hot start last season. The Phillies said the procedure will be an arthroscopic evaluation with treatment of any labral or bony injury. Depending on exactly what is found, he could be sidelined for six months. That could put the Phillies in the market for a better utilityman than Eric Bruntlett, but they would have the option of turning to top prospect Jason Donald at second base for the beginning of the season.

    Courtesy of RotoWorld

  • Posts: 0 Dennis

    I agree IGUCHI

  • Posts: 0 pb

    This what I posted 10 days ago under the 11/10 Phillies Nation Minute
    Tim even used part of it in his mail bag a few days later

    pb Says:
    November 10th, 2008 at 11:37 am
    I’d like to post a question, if it’s ok

    Utley in Left?, or First Base??, Is the time now???

    I’ve never thought Chase Utley would spend his entire career at second base. He is simply to good of a hitter to leave vulnerable at such a dangerous position. With the size and speed of some of today’s players constantly taking out middle infielders to break up double plays serious injuries are not uncommon. I assumed the Phillies would only keep Ryan Howard during his arbitration years or trade him a year before his free agency. Then they would slide Utley over to first base in either 2011 or 2012. But with Chase’s non Utley like power production (hip mystery) after the all-star break maybe this season or next it will be time for a change. The Phillies are already committed to Utley through 2013 so it maybe wise to start protecting that investment sooner rather than later.

    2009: $11 million, 2010: $15 million, 2011: $15 million, 2012: $15 million, 2013: $15 million, 2014: Free Agent

    Sure Utley gets the job done at second but is it worth playing him there if takes away from his hitting especially like it did in second half of this season.

    364 68 106 25 3 25 69 39 11 59 10 0 .291 .372 .582 .954 1st 1/2
    243 45 71 16 1 8 35 25 16 45 4 2 .292 .390 .465 .855 2nd 1/2

    I maybe jumping the gun here but I really don’t want to be reading anything Utley’s hip/lack of production at the plate next season or the season after if he hasn’t changed positions. I’d rather Utley and Phillies make a change a year early rather a year to late. I would not be opposed to trading Howard this offseason for a some young talented pitching (Angels or Dodgers) or moving Utley to LF and bringing up Jason Donald or signing Orlando Hudson. I haven’t heard of any rumors of this yet but I will guarantee we will if Chase’s 1st half of 2009 is anything like his 2nd half of 2008.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    nah, Iguchi is done and he’s going back to Japan anyway.

  • Posts: 0 Mike S.

    remember how quick Utley got back from his broken hand…
    so maybe he does that again…although I think this hip problem may be a little worse than a broken hand.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Why move Utley off of 2nd? He’s the best fielding player at a premium position. His numbers are unbelievable for a 2nd basemen, but merely good for a first basemen. Utley at 2nd is a HUGE asset, while Utley at 1st is a good asset. Why move him? Who says that moving to 1st will improve his hip?

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P


    The only question surrounding Utley is will we go with Donald or Bruntlett at 2B? He’ll be back and it shouldnt be a problem.

    Tim nailed it… the Feliz injury is a bigger concern (in my opinion). This is a huge reason why you can’t have Dobbs platooning in the OF. Feliz is older and durability issues will continue to grow. He’s a huge component of this team and we cannot afford to go without him for any long stretch of time. He’s going to need days off throughout the year and Dobbs gives you a great fill-in.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    I read your post pb and the ideas grown on me.

    After this news I really hope we make Dobbs the everyday 3rd basement untill Feliz is ready to go and see what Donalds made of at second. I don’t like the idea of moving Utley since slugging infielders are hard to come by, but thinking ahead he could be as good as a Doug Mientkiewicz defensively at 1st and Donald at 2nd would give a bat at 2nd and allow us to groom a can’t miss power-hitting prospect groomed to succeed Feliz and we’d inherit a truck-load of talent from moving Howard who’s looking more like Albert Belle than Mark Mcgwire.

  • Posts: 0 bull

    now is the time to make the atkins trade…or at least persue it

  • Posts: 0 ryan

    this makes me respect utley so much. he played hurt for nearly 3/4 of the year and still played at a fairly high level while he was pretty badly hurt. he refused to make any excuses and just went out there and busted his ass every day. i want a whole team full of chase utley’s.

    not too worried about him missing the first 6 weeks or so of the season. this is the best scenario for this situation. they’ll have no problem staying afloat without him. all they need to do without him is tread water and they’ll be fine.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    What position he plays, and where the ranks vs. other player AT THAT SPECIFIC POSITION.. should matter at all… it’s what he contributes to the lineup, and where he hits in the lineup, not from which defensive spot..

    secondly, the Utley moving to 1st talk is something legit, because the Phillies should not, can not, and will not have the money to sing Ryan Howard to a long-term contract.. a year before he becomes a Free Agent (or maybe a year and half) you look to trade him because you can get a King’s Ransom in return.. Utley would slide to 1st base, because its an easier postion to play, he would have to focus less on his Defense, and his hitting becomes priority #1

    There are LOTS of different ways they could go with Howard, Utley, Burrell, Jason Donald, etc.. but the concept of Howard leaving and Utley one day playing 1st base is real one

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    My point is that it’s easier to find a 1B who puts up Utley’s numbers than it is to find a gold glove caliber 2B that puts up Utley’s numbers.

    Also, how would moving to 1B help Utley’s hip? He still uses his hip for running and for swinging the bat.

    I understand that Howard will not be here long-term, but the Phillies can find another 1B to replace him. It’s much easier to do that than to find a 2B who can replace Utley.

  • Posts: 0 John Fire

    From Iguchi’s yahoo bio:

    Nov 20 Jayson Stark, of ESPN.com, reports the Philadelphia Phillies are believed to be interested in bringing free-agent 2B Tadahito Iguchi (Phillies) back in 2009.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    oof, good find John Fire. Iguchi was pretty awful last year though.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Griffin it’s not ideal but Donald doesn’t project as more than an average 3rd base if he’s being groomed there.

    Imagine Howard and Feliz gone, it’ll be tough to find big bats for both spots in a short space of time. Utley at first would secure 1st base with excellent defense for a decade with a 2nd base with pop already installed in Donald, Rollins at short and could replace most of Howards power at 3rd giving an all around upgrade and a bounty of can’t miss prospects. As I said it’s not ideal Donald at 3rd sounds like a waste and a straight replacement for Howard doesn’t sound possible, it would cost us heavily in FA or by a trade and a prospect at 1st would be blocked from getting a head start right up to the day Howard leaves be it through a trade or his mega-deal.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    I hear ya NJ, I just think that moving Utley off of 2B is patching up one hole while creating another. I agree with your point that Donald at 3B is not ideal, that’s why he can eventually be traded for a 3B or 1B with a better bat. I’m not sure what to do for 1B once Howard leaves, but my point is that finding a 1B who can hit is easier than finding a gold glove 2B who can hit.

    But it sounds like everyone expects Howard to be gone in 2 years, which I agree with.

  • Posts: 0 J-Man

    Maybe they need to consider upping that offer to 3 years for Pat Burrell,our lineup would be horrible without Utley,Burrell,and Feliz.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Donald may not be Utley at 2nd but he could be not far off that level.

    The combination of Utley, Donald, Rollins plus a power hitting 3rd basement groomed in house will likely be better both offensively and defensively than the one with Donald as so-so red herring at third (or gone in a deal that probably wont be for an elite player) and having to trade a lot for or pay a lot to replace Howard. With the first idea we’d be left with a full compliment of top prospects from the Howard deal which wouldn’t be the case if we have to go to FA or make a trade.

    Does that sound a little better now?

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    ^Donald may not be Utley at 2nd but he could be not far off that level (as in the good defensive 2nd basement who can hit you described).

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Your point is well thought out, I just think that you could trade Donald for a good hitting 1B right now and an infield of random 3B/Rollins/Utley and good hitting 1B would be better than random 3B/Rollins/Donald/Utley.

    I agree that I don’t think the Phillies will trade Howard for prospects. I think they’ll keep him for 2 years and then let him go to free agency.

  • Posts: 0 NEPA

    NJ – why do you keep typing basement instead of basemen?

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    my bad, my proof readings been pretty bad recently.

  • Posts: 0 pb

    I don’t have any stats on it but I will guarantee that a 2nd baseman has to dive for more balls over the course of a season then 1st basemen. When you dive for a ball alot of time you land square flush on your hip. Which I don’t think is a good thing. And it doesn’t have to be Firstbase it could be LF. I’m just saying protect the investment that they already have made

    2009: $11 million, 2010: $15 million, 2011: $15 million, 2012: $15 million, 2013: $15 million, 2014: Free Agent

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    pb, part of what makes Chase Utley so good is that he’s a great fielding 2B. You lose that by moving him to a position in which he can not impact the game as much. By moving him to 1B, you’re protecting the Phillies investment in Utley’s bat, but losing a lot of his glove.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Utley should be moved off of 2B when he loses a step or two, not because moving him to 1B could possibly help his hip. I hear your logic, but this is just my opinion.

  • Posts: 0 pb

    It’s just, in two years I don’t want to have a 15Mill a year singles hitter. Who also isn’t as good at his postion as he once ones

  • Posts: 0 NateB

    Tim you called this injury months ago. How did you know?

  • Posts: 0 mikemike

    Please don’t say the phillies don’t have the money to give Howard . I agree he right now is talking big money. But they can afford to sign him and Hamels. It is just there way not to do it, they made a ton this year. and will be making more each day with video and shirts and merchandise, remember local merchandise isn’t share with the league. So two first round draft choices for howard is good. He is twenty eight project him for a least seven years at 45 hr a year .that means we let a 500 hr. hitter walk ,why because we won’t pay him. Fourth largest market in baseball. largest market without two teams. over fifty sellouts this year. yet we can’t lock up two players who came through our farm system who are studs. Move chase utley from a allstar second base to first makes sense . weaken second for a unkown glove at first. some real brilliant talk . you never move a star at one positon to another unless you have a start to replace him. donald isn’utley.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    I agree, but I doubt that Utley will turn into a singles hitter just because he had to play 2B instead of 1B. I agree with you in that Utley will eventually have to move to an easier position, but I think we’re years away from that time.

    Is starting the season with Donald at 2B and Bruntlett as a backup adequate? Is Donald MLB ready?

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Donalds felt to be a major league ready short-stop by pretty much every team with a need at that position.

    I’ll be on the pay Howard bandwagon once he starts looking like a true MVP again and not just a September player but he’s regressing at an alarming rate, teams are attacking his flaws in a way they do no other ‘elite’ bat in the game. The guys going to get a crazy deal on the open market and if he’s still hitting like he’s in a batting cage then and not adjusting to the game let someone else pay it. I don’t like the idea of us tying ourselves to a sinking ship because we couldn’t adapt and move with the times.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    mikemike don’t you remember what happened to the Indians back in the mid to late 90′s? They had massive poplularity but were loosing money hand over fist because their payroll escalated so high it didn’t matter if they sold out or not.

    That team looks awefuly familiar to the Phillies now.

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