By Henry Allison
While the Phillies flew to Chicago to begin a three-game weekend series with the Cubs, their 36-year-old second baseman was still in limbo:
On the disabled list and talking about “muscle memory” and the swelling going down in his injured right ankle.
Chase Utley resumed baseball activities earlier in the week, saying he’s “ramped it up” coming out of the All-Star break and feels that he is making progress toward a return.
He confirmed that he will have a rehab assignment rather than return straight to the Phillies when he has a clean bill of health. He was unsure both of when the rehab assignment will be and how long it will be, estimating he could be in the minors for between two and 10 games.
As a result of the recovery process, Utley said he feels he has regained some of the power he was lacking before the injury when he was batting .179 with a slugging percentage of just .275.
“I do feel a little bit better,” he said. “I have a little bit more motion in my ankle that I was lacking before. But it’s still going to take a little bit of time to have the muscle memory remember the right way to do it.”
With the swelling “pretty much out” of the ankle, Utley said he is going to continue to take soft toss and field ground balls with the team on the road trip in Chicago before making a decision as to when he will come back.
“I think continue to do this and feeling more comfortable taking ground balls, hitting, just try to make progressions on all of that,” Utley said. “And once we feel it’s time to go on a rehab assignment, we will do so.”