News surfaced this weekend that Phillies second baseman Chase Utley has patellar tendinitis in his right knee. Utley received an MRI Saturday disclosing the cause for him being out for the first couple Spring Training games.
Before the MRI, Utley's sitting was said to be due to leg soreness.
Now with the news of Utley having mild tendinitis, Phillies fans are worried about Utley and his status for the season.
The Phillies organization is saying they are just taking Utley's injury very cautiously.
Even if the injury is not serious, fans should be getting worried about Utley in the long term.
Utley has been hobbled by injuries for the past few seasons. The 32-year-old had his worst full season with Philadelphia last year.
The Phillies offensive stars are growing old and fragile. Their window of opportunity is closing fast.
With the news of the Chase Utley injury, here are five players the Phillies could use to replace Utley if he were to miss significant time this season.
To start, we should start by looking at internal replacements. They are the most realistic options for the short term.
Wilson Valdez would be the immediate replacement if Utley went down for a long period of time.
Valdez filled in for the injured Phillies infielders last season and did a very good job at doing so.
Valdez had career highs in AB, Hit, HR and RBI in 2010.
He is also a capable defensive player who can make the everyday plays and has shown the ability to turn double plays with Jimmy Rollins.
The Phillies grabbed Michael Martinez from the Washington Nationals in the Rule 5 Draft this past year.
The 28-year-old 2B has shown ability to play shortstop and even the outfielder positions.
He has speed and the defensive skills to play at the Major League level.
However, his stats show he is not the greatest hitter. Martinez has a career .263 average in five minor league seasons.
Utley's replacement is not expected to step into the No. 3 spot in the order, but he should be able to hit, especially in key situations.
A former No. 1 prospect, Josh Barfield is a candidate to possibly take over for Utley for the long term.
Barfield started off his career in the Padres organization and then played one full season in Cleveland.
After a terrible start, Barfield was benched in 2007 and never was an everyday player again.
In his only Spring Training action so far this season, Barfield went 2-for-2.
Barfield has the potential to be a steal and can be a great backup to Chase Utley.
If he regains his No. 1 prospect form, he could even be Utley's successor.
Let's look outside the organization for one possibility.
David Eckstein believe it or not does not have a team for this season.
Eckstein is a career .280 hitter who has been platooned or even been a backup for the past couple of seasons.
He is a player that everyone wants on a team. He brings energy and solid defensive skills.
He brings a winning edge, having won the World Series and the World Series MVP.
The Phillies should sign Eckstein to a minor league deal immediately.
The only problem I see with Eckstein is his power. Where would he hit in the lineup? My guess would be seven, but that is leaving a huge hole in the middle of the lineup.
Cesar Hernandez is another long term, down the road type of option for the Phillies.
Hernandez is an extremely raw prospect. He is ranked as one of the top 10 second basemen prospects in the MLB.
He had a good first season as a professional, hitting .325 in Williamsport.
Hernandez is likely to start out in either Clearwater or Lakewood this year, but with a good start, he could quickly move up to Reading.
Hernandez is a dark horse to even replace Utley this season if he were to go down for a long time.