Monday, March 19, 2012
Today's news that Chase will likely miss opening day is nothing short of devastating. The fact that he had yet to play in a game was alarming, but I was optimistic that his rehab was coming along and he would come back at a high level. Though Chase was far from his usual self at the plate last year, he still played strong defense and was nothing short of torrid on the base paths. With a full off-seasons of rehab, it seemed a near certainty that he would dramatically improve his conditioning and be able to play through his knee problems at a high level for at least 1 more season. If there is one player who I would categorize as tough, it's Chase Utley, and if he can't play through this thing, nobody could. Hopefully he will be able to make it back and play at a high level, but that now seems far from a certainty. The Phillies are now left with some combination of Freddy Galvis, Ty Wigginton, Jim Thome, Pete Orr, Kevin Frandson, Michael Martinez, Laynce Nix, Juan Pierre/Scott Podsednik and John Mayberry covering spots that have been filled for what seems like an eternity by Howard, Ultey and Burrell/Ibanez. Given health for Hamels, Lee, and Halladay, there is no reason that the Phillies shouldn't be able to still achieve greatness, but this is a serious blow that could prove costly.