Bad News for Chase Utley, Phillies

We have some bad news per Todd Zolecki:

Chase Utley will have right hip surgery, and will miss the next four to six months.

That means Utley will be back near the end of March at the earliest, missing almost all of spring training. And it could mean that Utley misses the first one-third of the season.

There may be a silver lining — the Phillies could try Jason Donald at second base instead of settling for Eric Bruntlett or a scrub free agent middle infielder. Donald is performing well in the Arizona Fall League: in 91 at-bats, his AVG/OBP/SLG line is .407/.476/.747.

The Phillies shouldn’t, and most likely won’t, overreact to the news, so don’t expect a free agent signing of Orlando Hudson or a trade for Dan Uggla (since the Marlins are going through yet another roster liquidation).

It’s mere speculation, but it seems like this was the play that hurt Utley. Justin Upton of the Arizona Diamondbacks took him out at second base to break up the double play. That game was on May 5. Up to that point, Utley had put up a slash line of .357/.432/.762. After that game, he had a slash line of .273/.363/.472. Still not bad, and this is not to say that Utley was going to OPS 1.200 the rest of the year, but it seems like the Upton slide was the play which hurt Utley’s hip.

This is further confirmed if we look at the ten games before and after the game: .333/.409/.590 before and .143/.225/.229 after. Reduce it to five games and it becomes .316/.409/.789 before and .059/.150/.059 after. In fact, it took Utley seven games after that slide to get a hit that was not a single — he hit a home run off of Tom Glavine on May 14.

If this is indeed true that Justin Upton is the culprit, then we can add him to a list similar to Steve Buscemi’s in the movie Billy Madison:

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3 comments

  1. Mike Donley

    November 20, 2008 02:04 PM

    The loss of Utley really hurt the Phils. The Braves may take the division. I may be wrong.

  2. Pingback: Yikes. The Jason Donald era in Philly might … | the daily john

  3. ShooterB

    November 20, 2008 06:42 PM

    I’ve never understood the legality of the take-out slide. When a player is fielding a ball, the runner can be called out for the slightest bump…even if unintentional. But on the double-play, he can intentionally take out a defenseless player and it is generally acceptable to slide dramatically to either side or past the bag in order to do so.

    Not to mention, how many injuries could be eliminated without that very play? Has there even been a discussion in the MLB about protecting the players from stuff like that?

    I know, I’m not supposed to question things…and say “that’s just good baseball.” Rub some dirt on it & get over it. If you start trying to protect the players, they might start thinking they own the damn place.

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