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Chase Utley’s latest MRI makes you wonder if he’ll ever be healthy again

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"KEEP ON PHIGHTIN' WITH JOE VALLEE"

When Chase Utley sat out Saturday's Grapefruit League opener against the Yankees because of "soreness," I thought something wasn't quite right, and people thought I was nuts.

Well, I am kind of crazy, but I was right.

An MRI revealed that Utley is suffering from patella tendinitis  in his right knee. Although it doesn’t appear to be a monumental obstacle, this is just another long list of injuries that have plagued Utley for the better part of the last four seasons. Moreover, it’s not exactly news you want to hear as the first batch of spring training games get underway.

Chase Utley plays hard and trains hard. Nobody will ever question his commitmentChase Utley's latest injury could have the Phils reeling. Photo: Joe Vallee Sr. or work ethic. After all, this IS the same guy who basically played 2008 on one hip  and came back way too early from last year’s thumb injury.

The problem with Utley being the gamer he is prevents the Phillies' staff from ever having a true evaluation of his health.

Utley is not the biggest guy, either. He usually comes into spring training bulked up, but has been known to wear down as the season progresses. Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg is in Phillies camp, and has actually talked with Utley about overcoming the obstacles of withstanding a 162-game season as your career progresses.

Sure, it’s only the first game of the spring and the Phillies don’t want to take any precautions,  However, Utley sitting out of any game really speaks volumes.  

Final Thought: One of the reasons the Phillies decided to let Aaron Rowand leave for free agency after the 2007 season is that former GM Pat Gillick feared his body would not hold up long enough to play out the terms a new contract. Rowand and Utley both play the game with reckless abandon (one time it even ended Rowand’s season at Wrigley Field in 2006). We can only hope that Utley is able to effectively play out the remaining three years of his contract, and that this is not the beginning of the end of his career. At 32, he’s not getting any younger, and if Wilson Valdez is on the field more than Chase Utley is in 2011, well.....I don’t even want to think about that.

In the meantime, Keep On Phightin.'

 

Joe Vallee is a lifelong Phillies fan and former Phillies batboy. Joe has claimed to have seen about 98% of every Phillies game since the early 1980's.

Contact Joe at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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