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07/28/08 12:29 PM ET

Utley denies potential right hip injury

Phillies second baseman's numbers have cooled recently

PHILADELPHIA -- As Chase Utley's production continues to be un-Chase Utley-like, theories have emerged as to why.

One, that the Phillies second baseman may be playing hurt, received some credence Sunday, when general manager Pat Gillick told reporters that his All-Star has been playing with a sore right hip.

"He's having some trouble with his right hip," Gillick said.

Utley began the season scorching, but has cooled in recent weeks, batting .234 with four homers since June 3. Through his first 33 games this season, he hit .362 with 13 homers and 26 RBIs.

His overall numbers of .288 with 25 homers and 71 RBIs mask his recent struggles.

Utley refused to acknowledge an injury, telling reporters after Sunday's game, "I have no idea what you're talking about.

"That's a good question, because I don't know anything about that. I understand why you'd ask the question, because I'd ask the same question."

"He'll work it out," manager Charlie Manuel said last week. "That's part of the game. Good hitters hit slumps. It's noticed a lot, especially when you go two or three games and don't get a hit. He'll be OK. I'll put my money on Utley."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.