PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies second baseman Chase Utley has clearance to start swinging a bat again.

Utley, who had surgery July 1 to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, visited hand specialist Andrew Weiland on Wednesday in New York. Weiland, who performed the surgery, told Utley he could begin hitting.

"Which is very positive news from our perspective," Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said before Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. "From this point forward it's going to be a matter of how he feels and how he progresses. We're still on the same timetable we've been on before. It's gone pretty much according to plan to this point."

The Phillies originally estimated Utley would miss eight weeks, which would set his return for Sept. 1.

"I don't think anything has changed from that perspective," Proefrock said. "If it progresses faster than that, great. If it's a little slower than that, great. The main thing is Chase is healthy and ready to play at his full capacity when he comes back."

Utley has said he hopes to return before the end of the month.

Phils' Gload strains groin legging out double

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies might have lost another player to the disabled list.

Phillies first baseman Ross Gload strained his right groin running to second base for a double in the sixth inning Wednesday in a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. Gload, who was unavailable to comment, pulled up lame and grabbed his groin before he reached second base.

The Phillies said Gload will be re-evaluated Thursday, although if the injury is as bad as it looked, Gload would be the 16th Phillies player to land on the DL this season.

"The way they talked in there, they said it's not quite as bad as they thought it might be," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said, referring to the team's athletic trainers.

Gload, who had hit third in the lineup in three of the previous six games, has hit .380 (19-for-50) as a starter this season.

"Anytime we lose a guy who's playing good and hitting the ball good it's a blow," Manuel said. "You've got to keep going. You've got to have people step in and hopefully they can do the job."

Polanco plans to play through elbow injury

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco left Tuesday's game at Citizens Bank Park in the seventh inning after he tweaked his left elbow -- the same elbow that put him on the disabled list earlier this season.

Polanco was back in the lineup Wednesday, but it clearly is something that will bother him the remainder of the season. In fact, Polanco said he likely will require surgery after the season.

"It seems like that's the case," Polanco said. "I don't want to have it next year."

Polanco said he will play with the injury the remainder of the season. So far, it hasn't affected him at the plate. He entered Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers third in the National League with a .320 batting average.

Phils confident in Romero, Bastardo in 'pen

PHILADELPHIA -- J.C. Romero is having trouble throwing strikes, and Antonio Bastardo has had trouble translating his success in Triple-A Lehigh Valley to the Phillies.

It could become a bigger problem as the pennant race heats up.

"This time of year it's difficult to make those kinds of moves," said Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock, when asked about making a trade to bolster the bullpen. "We're always looking to make the club better, but I think Antonio has pitched very well at Triple-A. He's shown he's capable of getting outs at the Major League level. Absent last evening and absent J.C.'s mechanics, we've got two left-handers in the bullpen we've had success with at the Major League level."

Romero, who had surgery last year on his left elbow, clarified some comments he made Tuesday, when he indicated he might be injured.

He said he is healthy.

"My arm is fine," he said. "At the beginning, when I was on the DL, I had no arm speed. It was easy for my hand to catch up. Now my arm is faster and my hand isn't following it the right way. I'm not coming around the ball. ... It's hard. It's like you hesitate to let it go. I've got realize I'm healthy so I've got to start being aggressive and start attacking the strike zone."

Victorino triples, homers in rehab game

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino went 3-for-4 with a triple, home run and three RBIs in a rehab game Wednesday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Victorino is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left abdominal muscle.

He could be activated as early as Thursday, although most estimates have him coming back for this weekend's series against the New York Mets at Citi Field.