The Phillies are hopeful that injured stars Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will be able to rejoin the team this week.

KYW’s Matt Leon reports that Utley will continue his rehab with Single-A Clearwater today, playing in a doubleheader.

sweeney mike Sports:  Sweeney Shines Filling in For HowardIn Howard’s absence the Phils have gotten solid production from veteran first baseman Mike Sweeney (right), picked up in a trade with Seattle earlier this month.

Sweeney, 37, is a five-time All-Star and spent years as one of the most feared hitters in the game while with Kansas City.  But he’s never tasted the postseason.

He doesn’t let that faze him however, as he works to end the drought here in 2010:

“Even though I’ve never played in a playoff game to this point, I’ve never let that hold me back or define me as a man.  Because the way I play the game, the way I prepare, the way I try to make the guys around me better, I prepare to be on a playoff team every year.  But it just never happened.  So for me to be around these guys, it’s refreshing to say the least.”

Sweeney says his approach to the game is no accident:

“My dad, when I was a young boy, taught me how to play the game the right way, despite what the score is, despite where you are in the standings.

“I remember Mark Teahen — he’s an outfielder-third baseman with the White Sox now — he came up to me after he was brought over to Kansas City and said, ‘How do you do it?’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘We’re twenty games out of first place and yet you are busting your butt every single day and you are going out with fire — how do you do it?’ And I said, ‘You can’t do it any other way.’

“The only thing that never goes into a slump is your effort. If you don’t have that, you’re not going to have a long career.”

Sweeney is hitting .261 as a Phillie with four runs scored.

Hear the full Mike Sweeney interview (5:00) in this KYW SportsPod:

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