CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Chase Utley will miss the entire exhibition schedule for the second straight year and will not be in the Philadelphia Phillies’ opening-day lineup due to his injured knees.
The five-time All-Star, limited to 103 games last year when he didn’t play his first game until May 23, said Sunday he will not have season-ending surgery and does not have plans to retire. He says he feels better than he did at this point last year.
“I’m not going to be ready for opening day,” Utley said. “I don’t really have a timeline on when I will be available. I will take this process fairly slow because I think it’s important to get everything around my knees working correctly. And I think it’s going to take a little bit of time. I’m disappointed. I’m upset. I’m not happy that I’m in this situation right now, but I’m not going to let that deter me and get me down.”
After arriving in camp last month positive with his offseason progression, Utley took regular batting practice and participated in light fielding work as spring training got underway. But his workouts slowed and then stopped.
Last week, he left camp to see a physical therapist Brett Fischer in Arizona.
“I have a better idea now on how my body is supposed to move compared to how it’s moving at this time, and I think we have something pretty good for the future,” Utley said. “I think there are some misunderstandings. I don’t have patellar tendinitis. It’s called chondromalacia, which is a roughening of the cartilage underneath the patellar. And it’s not that bad. It’s not bad enough to have microfracture surgery. It’s not bad enough to end my career. It’s an issue I’m going to have to deal with. There’s a lot of wear and tear in this game, and I just have to get things around my knee to move better to take a little pressure off my knee.”
Utley added that he is not considering a surgery of any type because he hasn’t been informed of one that comes with a “100 percent” success rate. Although he has no timetable, Utley expected to play and contribute this year.
“I’ve already seen benefits over the last four or five days from doing some new exercises,” Utley said. “I’m very optimistic this is going to turn out well. But again it’s going to take a little time and I have to do this right. I think it’s important, not only for this year, but for the rest of my career. I’m 33 years old. I know some people think that’s old, but I still feel like I have a lot of baseball left in me.”
Hear Chase Utley’s entire interview with the media in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
In Utley’s absence the Phillies will turn to rookie Freddy Galvis. The 22-year-old Galvis entered Sunday hitting .236 (13-for-55) with two homers, two triples and a team-high 12 RBIs in 20 games.
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