If you're a major league team with an excess of infielders, the Philadelphia Phillies would like to speak with you. In fact, general manager Ruben Amaro is probably on the line that's flashing right now.
The Phillies' infield was already looking mighty thin when Chase Utley left spring camp due to persistent pain in both of his knees. Utley was to consult a specialist to help him get his rehab out of its "plateau," but he's almost certainly going to begin the season on the disabled list. And some are questioning whether or not the rest of his baseball career is at stake.
Oh, and Placido Polanco has missed the last few spring training games due to a sprained left ring finger. It's been a bad week for Phillies infielders.
Philadelphia was already short-handed with first baseman Ryan Howard going down with a torn left Achilles tendon last October. His recovery was pushed further back when he developed an infection with one of the sutures from the surgery that repaired the tear. Howard is currently wearing a protective boot, and is expected to be out until late May or early June.
One of the players who was expected to fill in at second and third base was utility infielder Michael Martinez. But Martinez was scratched from the Phillies' plans when he suffered a broken foot in Tuesday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles. Martinez was hit by a pitch and fractured the fourth metatarsal in his right foot. With that, he joins Howard in the walking boot club and the Phillies don't know when he'll return.
Whether or not the Phillies go hard after another infielder might depend on how well rookie Freddy Galvis plays for Utley at second base. If he struggles, the team could look at acquiring a veteran replacement.
Some of the names that have been mentioned by Phillies beat reporters include Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker of the Chicago Cubs, Mike Aviles of the Boston Red Sox, Maicer Izturis and Alberto Callaspo of the Los Angeles Angels and Orlando Hudson of the San Diego Padres.
That appears to leave the Phillies with plenty of options to pursue if Galvis proves he's not ready or Amaro decides they need more infield depth. (Pete Orr and Hector Luna will also remain in camp with the Phillies if the team decides to stand pat when the season begins.) Their infield situation is definitely something to keep an eye on during the first few weeks of the season.
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