OK, so now that the Chase Utley news has sunk, let’s examine what the commencement of a minor league rehab stint means for the Phillies’ second baseman…
- It means first and foremost that Utley begins a 20-day clock, which is true for all position players once an official minor league rehab assignment begins. This means that, barring a setback, Utley will be back in the major leagues no later than July 2.
- July 2 is an off-day, and the Phillies have 19 games between now and then. Just because the clock has a 20-day maximum doesn’t mean he’ll use every day of it.
- But then again, Utley hasn’t yet played second base in a live game situation, so his rehab stint won’t be as short as it was last season, when he needed only nine games and 36 plate appearances at Single-A Clearwater before being called up to the Phillies.
- Getting Utley back is a necessity with Freddy Galvis out indefinitely with a pars fracture in his back. But Phillies second basemen haven’t been as bad as you may think. They rank third in the majors in doubles, behind only the Rangers and Yankees, who have Ian Kinsler and Robinson Cano. And Phillies second basemen have the fourth-most RBI in baseball, with 33. Only the Indians (Jason Kipnis) and Braves (Dan Uggla) have more.
- Utley’s on-base percentage is what the Phillies need, though. Phillies second basemen have a meager .283 OBP, which is 27th in baseball. Utley is a career .377 on-base guy and even “Zombie Utley” had a .344 mark last season.