Originally written on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 3/19/12

When will Utley play? No one knows.

Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. issued a statement through the team Monday morning regarding Chase Utley.

“Chase’s rehab process has come to a bit of a plateau.  He has made some strides but not enough to take the field.  He is headed out of town for a few days to be evaluated by a specialist that has helped athletes overcome his issue.  We anticipate that this trip will allow him to build on what he has already done with Scott Sheridan in order to get over the hump.  He wants more than anything to be on the field with his teammates and we believe that this is a step in that direction.”

That’s an interesting quote. What is clear is Utley is clearly not feeling well enough to take the field and is still having discomfort in the knee; enough so that a specialist needs to be seen.

Do we use the term “setback” here? Utley wasn’t doing much of anything baseball related before this, so it’s hardly a step back due to the fact he hadn’t taken a step forward yet.

It also goes to show you that you cannot take the tight-lipped Phillies for their word. Utley spoke with Todd Zolecki of mlb.com and said he hoped to play next week. The game of cat and mouse the Phillies play is fine – they obviously do not want people gaining any knowledge on the inside. However, Utley not taking the field spoke for itself. It’s clear he’s nowhere near baseball-ready, and that’s a scary thing heading into this season.

No matter what you think of Utley, and Ryan Howard, too, they can ill afford to miss important parts of the middle of their batting order.

Right now, we don’t know what will happen with Utley and his battered knees. But we do know they aren’t well enough to take a field and that a doctor will need to step in and help Utley is some fashion.

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