Utley Goes Under the Knife

All-Star could be out 5 to 6 weeks: Report

The Phillies are going to need to find a way to win without their All-Star second baseman.

Chase Utley will have surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament of his right thumb Thursday, the Phillies confirmed.

“Utley is going to require surgery on his injured thumb, very bad news for the Phillies,” MLB Network’s Peter Gammons Tweeted earlier in the day.

We agree Peter.

To make matters worse Gammons said the recovery time could be five to six weeks. The Phillies didn't give a timetable on Utley's return in a brief release Thursday but manager Charlie Manuel hinted that with rehab Utley could be out up to two months.

"If Utley's out for eight weeks, we need someone to play consistent baseball and play good -- kind of equal to him, even for that period of time," manager Charlie Manuel said to ESPN.com.

If it’s true that the perennial All-Star is out for eight weeks he would come back in at the end of August at the earliest.

Utley is arguably the most irreplaceable member of the Phightins. He struggled for more than a month at the plate but still managed to bat .277 with 11 homers, 37 RBI and 49 runs until he was hurt Tuesday. And averages about 30 homers, 100 RBI and 110 runs when he plays a full season.

Wilson Valdez will likely take on second base duties in Utley’s absence but look for the Phils to possibly deal for a second baseman in the coming days.

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