As many anticipated, Chase Utley will require surgery to repair his right hip and will miss four to six months, a recovery that could put him out of action until June, according to a Phillies news release.
Utley, 29, has undergone several offseason diagnostic tests on his hip and team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti reached the conclusion that surgery was necessary. According to the report, Utley could be cleared to resume baseball activities in three or four months, but full recovery could take an additional two. Utley was having an MVP-caliber season until early June, when his production went south and news leaked that the all-star second baseman was playing through a hip injury.
The setbacks don’t stop there. Third baseman Pedro Feliz will undergo lower back surgery Nov. 20, which will be followed by an eight-to-twelve week rehabilitation.
Beerleaguer: It's an announcement many of us have been waiting for. There was no doubt Utley was playing hurt. On June 2, after a game that featured two backhanded stabs, a home run and a home-plate collision against the Reds, he stood alongside the league's best with 21 homers and 52 RBIs. He’d finish with 33 homers and 104 RBIs, hitting just two more in June, four in July, four in August and connecting for just two in September. Visibly, his swing went from short and compact to long and loopy, as rumors started swirling that he’d require off-season surgery. Today, speculation becomes a reality. Now that the cat's out of the bag, I would be curious to know when, exactly, the injury occurred.
Looking ahead, I think there’s a chance infield prospect Jason Donald could factor into the early mix, and if there wasn’t enough reason to acquire more veteran depth up the middle, this could be it.
Aside from a few nagging injuries, the Phillies were a healthy club last season, seizing the opportunity and winning the title with their core talent in the prime of their careers. While the window certainly doesn't close because of this, it's just another reminder that you never know when the window will slam shut due to the vulnerability of the human body.
And indeed, Chase's injury sounds like a tough one.