Phillies All-Star second baseman Chase Utley is known for his toughness.
Maybe that toughness played a role in Utley returning from a thumb injury more than a week earlier than the eight-week recovery originally expected.
Utley, 31, was taken off the disabled list Tuesday -- about seven weeks after he tore ligaments in his right thumb in late June.
Utley played four rehab games with Single-A Clearwater. He went 3-for-12 with two triples one RBI and one run during the rehab assignment.
Before going down to injury Utley batted .277 with 11 homers, 37 RBI and 49 runs in 72 games. He should give a boost to a Phillies line up that at times has sputtered along this season.
Chase should be in uniform Tuesday night as the Wild Card-leading Phillies enter a three-game set with the Wild Card-co-leaders San Francisco Giants. Utley is a definite upgrade in the field and in the lineup over Wilson Valdez who filled in on most nights.
To make room for Chase the Phils designated under-performing utility man Greg Dobbs for assignment. The 32-year-old was batting just .191 with four homers and 14 RBI in 76 games this season.
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