By now you have heard the terrible news of Chase Utley's injured hip that will require surgery and a 4-6 month recovery period. Most of us speculated that Chutley was playing hurt, because his numbers began to drop, but I doubt many us of suspected he was playing this hurt. The dude is one gutsy s.o.b. and the fact that he still played at a level higher than any other secondbaseman in the game while being substantially hindered by a bad hip cements his place with the best Phillies of all-time. Remember that heads up play he made in Game 5.5 of the World Series to nail Jason Bartlett at homeplate? I'll never forget!
What does this mean for the team? According to GM Ruben Amaro, the surgery will be exploratory as doctors do not know the full extent of his injury. While under the knife they will repair any bone and cartilage damage. The less wrong, the quicker Utley is back rehabbing and on the field. Best case scenario, he's back sometime in April; worst case, he's out the first few months of the season and doesn't take the playing field until June. Even when he returns he'll likely be rusty from missing spring training, and slowed by the hip. In fact...take a deep breath...he may never be the same player again. We've become accustomed to watching him go balls-out every game all game, and I'm sure his demeanor won't change, but the hip could keep him from playing at the level he has the past 3 seasons. Lets not get ahead of ourselves though. Short term solution- Eric Bruntlett and Jason Donald split time at secondbase. Bruntlett has no bat, but can field. Donald has no MLB experience, but has hit a ton in the minors, but hasn't played much secondbase. Look for Rube to sign a relatively cheap utility infielder as an insurance plan. *Jerry Hairston Jr., rumored to be on the Phils radar as a righthanded batting outfielder, has played a lot of secondbase in the past.
*Pedro Feliz will also be having surgery to fix his broken back. Okay, it's not really broken, more like bulging discs or something, but you get the point. He spent time on the DL last season because of the injury, but came back and helped the Phils win the World Series with a clutch hit and some fine fielding. I'm not a big fan of his because he's an all-around out-making machine, but he is an important part of the team's plan for next season, so I hope for a speedy and full recovery for Pete Happy.
*Mr. Toolsy, that's former 1st round pick Greg Golson, has been swapped for another 1st round pick. Amaro got his trading feet wet by exchanging minor leaguers, as huge disappoint Golson was sent to the Texas Rangers for John Mayberry Jr.. Mayberry has power potential, but his minor league line has been mediocre over 4 seasons- 105 dbl, 82 hr, 275 r, 257 rbi, 42 sb, .255 avg, .802 OPS. He is big, 6'6" 230 lbs, plays outfield while batting righthanded, and is the son of former player John Mayberry who was in the Majors from 1968-1982 smacking 255 homeruns. I could care less that Golson is gone, I just hope Mayberry isn't Rube's solution in the outfield. *Both Amaro and young Mayberry went to Stanford.
*Upon further review, it has been decided that Mayberry Jr. looks a lot like a young Chris Rock. Rock is funny, but he can't hit a fastball.