Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, December 11, 2011 09:43 AM Comments: 52
We continue on with the final player review for 2011. Today, Chase Utley.
From the moment I stepped foot into Bright House Field in Clearwater back in early March, it became all about Chase Utley. His every move would be scrutinized, his every step analyzed to see if the end was drawing near for the perennial All Star second baseman. A serious knee injury is just about the only thing that could put a damper on the Spring Training festivities mixed with the low-80′s temperatures.
The 2011 season was supposed to begin in sunny Florida with hope, promise, and eternal optimism – after all, the Phillies were the odds on favorite to win the World Series, having added Cliff Lee in the offseason. Instead, it was about Utley and his balky knee.
After a 2010 that limited Utley to just 115 games with injuries, the ’11 season all started with a lengthy stay on the DL as well. It was a guessing game as information on Utley’s knee injury was widely unavailable. The Phillies and Utley only spoke when necessary or when a certain plateau had been reached. As you’re well aware, Utley communicates very little and shows no emotion when doing so, so there was never a way to figure out how his knee was progressing at any point during his rehabilitation.