What Chase Utley's Surgery Will Do to the Phillies

C KSenior Analyst INovember 22, 2008

When the news struck that Chase Utley would be out for 4-6 months, I didn't panic. I know Utley, I know he'll be back for opening day. He's that kind of player.

But what gets me is the reaction of everybody else. All of a sudden, people ignore what likely will happen and jump on the worst that could happen.

When I saw the headlines, they only said "Utley possibly out until June." That's the worst case scenario, yet people jumped all over it.

In my mind, I do see him back for opening day, or sometime in April.

But let's move on.

The second thought that struck me when I heard the news was "Thank God! Now he'll finally be Chase Utley again!"

After Utley tore it up in April and May, he started to go down into slumps. He went into a few 0-20+ slumps, something one of the best hitters in baseball should never do. It became apparent to many people that Utley was hurt. You could see it.

Of course, the way Utley is, he denied it. He was more focused on winning this year and was willing to take the pain.

Day in and day out, you would still see Utley studying tape for about 297 hours a day, and you would still see him diving all over the place in the field.

Also, he got hit by pitches all the time, but he was willing to sacrifice his injury for the team.

Now that the injury is getting taken care of, I expect to see an even better Chase Utley, a Chase Utley we have never seen before.

If Utley does miss the first few weeks or a month, I still won't fret. Here's why:

The Phillies have the ability to sign someone like Tad Iguchi, who could then be put onto the bench when Utley comes back. Tad played very well in Utley's absence in 2007, so I would feel relatively safe with him there.

Also, Eric Bruntlett could fill in nicely. Sure, he played much much better as a bench player than a starter last year, but he is still a viable option in my opinion. He gained some confidence last year and no matter how bad that beard looks, Bruntlett is usually a consistent player.

Jason Donald has been playing very well in the Arizona fall league for the Phils and could be a nice young player at second in Utley's absence.

The good thing with all three of those options is you can just move those guys to the bench when Chase comes back. Iguchi would be a great bench player and we already saw that Bruntlett was a very nice bench player.

Also, the Phillies are very likely to add a left-fielder if they do not sign Burrell, so there won't be too much missing.

The line-up would be something like this as of now:



3-Whoever the left-fielder is





8-Utley's replacement

This line-up doesn't concern me too much for the first few weeks of the season. There's enough fire-power here to give the pitching staff some wins.

So everyone, don't be alarmed by this injury. In the long run, it will only make the team better.

Plus, we just won the World Series...let's not get greedy now.