PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, out all season with an injured left knee, will begin a rehabilitation assignment Monday at extended spring training in Clearwater, Florida.

The five-time All-Star gave no timetable Sunday for a possible return to the Philadelphia lineup.

Utley’s career has been sidetracked the last 2½ seasons because of injuries to his hip and knees. He has been working on strengthening the area around his left knee to take away the pain he experienced during spring training.

Utley says he excited about progress he’s made during the last few months and is ready to take the next step.

“Right now, I’m feeling pretty good,” he said. “Still not perfect yet, but we’re getting there and we’re on the verge of getting a lot better.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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