Some good news for Phillies fans on Sunday, as it was reported that Chase Utley will be starting extended spring training on Monday, as reported by The Inquirer's Bob Brookover, who spoke of the news via Twitter.
This news comes as a breath of fresh air for the Phillies, who recently learned that they will be without Roy Halladay for the foreseeable future.
The details of his rehab assignment are not yet known, but it is certainly a step in the right direction for Utley, who has spent his last few weeks taking batting practice and light fielding drills. This is an indication that Utley has moved far along enough in his rehab from his knee injury and that the team has, while not officially, some sort of timeline in place for his return.
The big thing to watch out for, however, is how Utley does in the field. Hitting does not appear to be an issue for him, but the movements involved in manning second base - namely the side-to-side stuff - are what troubles him the most, so this first week could tell us a lot about how far he has to go before he could return to the field in a big league uniform.
While it is highly unlikely that he will return in the month of June, it is quite possible that he could return by the All Star Break, or shortly thereafter, unless some further injury befalls him.
This is certainly a step in the right direction for the Phillies, who, despite having missed Utley's production, are managing to score runs. If this portion of his rehab assignment goes well, it won't be too long before Chase – as well as the rehabbing Ryan Howard – are back in the lineup.