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Veterans The Answer To Infield Quandary

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, January 16, 2009 12:00 PM | Comments: 4
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“He’s at or ahead of schedule in most areas, so we are really pleased. We are cautiously optimistic that he will be able to do some weight-bearing stuff.”

Just recently, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that — according to David Murphy — pertaining to second baseman Chase Utley, who is rehabbing from hip surgery. Utley said he wants to return to the Phillies by opening day, but the original timetable set for Utley was four to six months after surgery, putting his return at around May. “At or ahead of schedule” seems like maybe late April.

Meanwhile, the Phillies signed Marcus Giles and Pablo Ozuna to minor league deals. Giles knows his challenge is to try and make the Phils bench, while he’ll obviously compete with Jason Donald for potentially the starting second base role. And with Pedro Feliz also rehabbing from back surgery, it’s possible the Phils roster might include a couple “stopgap” players.

It’s very possible, in fact, the Phillies 2009 Opening Day lineup will look like this:

Rollins / Bruntlett / Werth / Howard / Victorino / Ibanez / Dobbs / Ruiz / Hamels

So don’t be surprised.

So far, the front office’s answer to the infield injury quandary has been veteran infielders with little pop in their bats, while hinging some sort of wager on the young Donald. And really, it’s the only answer. Free agents with more experience such as Joe Crede will demand more than the Phillies want to pay; meanwhile, a Juan Uribe might look good for a few weeks, but his Type B level doesn’t make him too desirable. The hope is Feliz will return close enough to allow Dobbs to settle back into being the top pinch hitter, and allow Bruntlett to move back to his super-utility role; moreover, hope that Giles or Ozuna can strike gold in Spring Training and help the situation by allowing flexibility.

Luckily, this is nothing new for the Phillies. The 2008 team dealt with injuries to both Feliz and Jimmy Rollins, and Dobbs, Bruntlett and Co. did a fine job in response. There’s no reason to think otherwise.

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About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Brett

    Would they really bat Victorino after Ibanez, given how well he’s done in the 6th position?

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I can’t see them giving extra at-bats to Bruntlett in the 2-hole. Without Utley in the lineup, the two LHs aren’t any different in the 4-5 spots than they would be at the 3-4

    So I assume its either: Rollins / Victorino / Werth / Howard / Ibanez / Dobbs / Ruiz / Bruntlett / Hamels

    Or… that Ibanez is #3, and Werth is #5 in that same setup

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Agree Don.
    But going to the main point of the post: With all the veteran infielders we’re getting, I’d rather see Utley take his time and get in really good shape before he starts playing again. He’s bulks up before the start of each season because he says that throughout the season he loses a lot of weight. And we all remember what happened to Rollins last season when he got injured… he played here and there slightly injured and ended up taking more time in the DL than initially expected. Let Chase recover fully.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    This is random… but the other thing is that Ibanez is one of the few guys on the team that has hit well IN APRIL for his career.. .286 avg. If Chase is out, I fully expect to see him in the 3-hole, with Werth providing Howard with some protection. That puts a lot of pressure on our #6-#7 hitters, because you know teams will throw around Howard to get to Werth, who also starts slowly (or was that because he never played everyday to get into a groove at the plate??) It would be a huge help to have Feliz ready to go so that we aren’t counting on Dobbs, Ruiz, and Bruntlett so much..

    Dobbs is GREAT off the bench, and provides so many key hits.. that is really where we need him.

    I agree with Manny though, hopefully Chase waits until he is 100% ready to go.. they say that he is in great shape though so he should recover quickly, but they also say that he’s a baseball-freak and probably can’t wait to get on the field..

     
 
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