While most of us were busying watching Cliff Lee carve up the Washington Nationals like so many Thanksgiving Day turkeys on Thursday night, we may have missed a particularly important and potentially season-altering bit of news regarding the team’s second baseman.
According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Chase Utley has started to run, which is as good a sign as any that the rehab on his right knee is progressing.
'He ran just outside the infield cutout from the right-field foul line to the left-field foul line, starting slowly and picking up speed as he rounded second base. He also participated in shuttle drills in left field and later fielded ground balls during batting practice.
Utley has been rehabbing from patellar tendinitis, chondromalacia and bone inflammation in his right knee for roughly two months.
'I did run,' Utley said. 'It seemed to go well. But, again, I need to make sure it responds well.'
Asked if he felt any pain in the knee while he ran, he said, 'Like I said, I felt pretty good.'"
Unlike the last time we heard about this, it appears that this actually occurred, so I doubt that Ruben Amaro will be holding a press conference to dispel the news of Utley’s improving injury.
It’s not that the Phillies need Utley to start sprinting anytime soon. After all, they are 9-3 to start the season, they have four pretty good pitchers that you may have heard about, and Utley's replacement Wilson Valdez is hitting a robust .351 in his stead*.
*Ah, the joy of small sample sizes.
Although he and the Phillies are unable to provide a timetable for his return, and while he is still a good bit of time away from even getting into a minor-league game, it makes the prospects of a return sometime this season a very real possibility.
Now, if only they could amend the rulebooks to allow stools on the field…