Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley will have his chronic knee tendinitis evaluated by a specialist.
Utley, who missed all of spring training in Clearwater, Florida, and 46 games last season because of right knee pain, “is headed out of town for a few days to be evaluated by a specialist that has helped athletes overcome his issue,” the Major League Baseball team said today in an e-mailed statement.
“Chase’s rehab process has come to a bit of a plateau,” the Phillies said in the statement. “He has made some strides but not enough to take the field.”
Utley told reporters two days ago that he hoped to play this week, according to the Associated Press. Utley has problems with both knees and is doubtful for opening day, AP said today, citing Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said last week that Utley’s knee injury “is not going to go away and he has to get ready,” AP said.
Utley, 33, has a history of mild patellar tendinitis and chondromalacia in the knee, the Phillies’ team physician, Michael Ciccotti, said in a March 2011 statement.
He missed the first 46 games of the season and ended up playing in 103, posting a .259 batting average and 11 home runs, both the lowest since his rookie year.
A nine-year veteran who’s played his entire major-league career with the Phillies, Utley has a .290 career batting average and 188 home runs while being named an All-Star five times.
The Phillies also will start the season on April 5 without first baseman Ryan Howard, who is recuperating from a torn Achilles tendon. Philadelphia had the best record in baseball last season at 102-60.