Philadelphia Phillies Spring Training: Is Chase Utley Healthy?

Jenn ZambriCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2011

Chase Utley / Photo by Jenn Zambri
Chase Utley / Photo by Jenn Zambri

Second baseman Chase Utley is a perennial All-Star and the best all-around player on the Phillies roster.

But recently, rumors have been flying about his physical condition.

Mentions of "soreness" in his knees and legs are raising eyebrows. Utley missed both the exhibition game and the first official game this week after "intense workouts" during the first week of camp.

He may not play in the next game either.

Utley has been developing a pattern of injuries over the past several years which are becoming alarming.

Rumors of a hip injury followed him throughout the second half of 2008. After winning the World Series, he did finally undergo surgery.

His health was questioned after that for much of the 2009 season, although he did not miss significant time. In 2010, Utley sprained his thumb and was put on the DL in June. The injury was more serious than initially disclosed, and Utley had to undergo surgery on the thumb. He missed 47 games that year.

Not only have the injuries become a pattern, but so has disguising them. A war of words ensued in 2008 when then-GM Pat Gillick slipped and told a reporter that Utley was experiencing hip problems. Utley vehemently denied the statement, yet in the offseason, it became apparent that Gillick was telling the truth, as Utley had hip surgery.

The thumb injury was underplayed as well in 2010. Now, when rumors of Utley's health arise, most are inclined to think there is truth to the rumor. Then when Utley drops coy comments to reporters like, "If there's cause for concern you'll be the first to know," it leads people to wonder if they should be worried.

Utley is not a big guy. His weight has been generously listed as 190 pounds on his MLB bio page. His smaller-than-average baseball player frame has led to questions about his endurance for years.

When the previous injuries and previous denials about injuries are all mixed in, it is a recipe for trouble.

The current issue may just be a simple matter of Utley being overzealous and working himself too hard in camp. But until he gets into a regular spring routine, the questions will linger.


Chase Utley photo by Jenn Zambri