04/24/11 2:00 AM ET
Amaro hopeful Utley can return soon
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
He thought he could be back before 60 days, which would be sometime before the end of May.
"I'm hopeful," Amaro said before Saturday's game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park. "I don't know if it's going to happen, but I'm hopeful. I can only hope."
Amaro said Utley, who has patellar tendinitis, chondrolmalacia and bone inflammation in his right knee, has made some progress in the last couple of weeks. But progress does not mean a rehab assignment is scheduled in the immediate future.
"He went from not running to running," Amaro said. "He doesn't run every day."
Rotation offsetting Phillies' offensive woes
SAN DIEGO -- Thank the pitching staff for the Phillies' recent success.
They have won eight of their last 12 games, despite scoring just 36 runs (3.0 runs per game). The Phillies have not scored more than four runs in a game since April 9, when they scored 10 in a victory over the Braves at Turner Field.
The Phillies have hit just .201, with a .273 on-base percentage and a .295 slugging percentage, in the previous 12 games. They had 10 doubles, two triples, eight home runs and 33 RBIs. They walked 39 times and struck out 77 times.
"It's not the extra-base hits, it's the fact we're not getting hits and driving in runs that bothers me," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before Saturday's 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres in 11 innings at PETCO Park. "But we've got who we've got, and they have to start hitting. So far, they've hit enough. I'd like to have them hit more. I'm sure they're not trying to make outs. They just haven't been hitting as well as they can."
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel could shuffle the lineup. Jimmy Rollins is hitting .253 with four doubles and two RBIs in the third spot. Raul Ibanez could hit third, but he is hitting .187 with two doubles, one homer and 10 RBIs. Manuel said Ibanez, who is hitless in his last 18 at-bats, is likely to get a day off in Sunday's series finale.
Manuel said he has considered Placido Polanco in the third spot, but is reluctant to take him out of the No. 2 slot while he is hitting well and the team is winning.
"Rollins is going to knock in some runs. I believe that," Manuel said. "It's a matter of time. They've got to keep going. That's one of the beauties of this game, man. Yesterday's performance doesn't play today."
It could be worse. The Phillies went 12 consecutive contests last season without scoring more than three runs in a game. In a brutal stretch from May 22-June 4, the Phillies got shut out five times and scored just 17 runs (1.4 runs per game). They hit just .197, with a .277 on-base percentage and a .274 slugging percentage. They walked 38 times and struck out 88 times. They went 3-9.
Phillies using bullpen to match situations
SAN DIEGO -- The Phillies are mixing and matching their relievers in big spots in the seventh inning while Brad Lidge is injured and Jose Contreras is closing.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. does not seem concerned.
"The guys are doing fine here," he said before Saturday's game against the Padres at PETCO Park. "Guys seem to be doing OK."
Asked about possible reinforcements at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, like right-hander Michael Stutes, Amaro said, "There are some guys that are pitching OK there."
The bullpen came up huge in Saturday's 4-2 victory in 11 innings. Danys Baez, Antonio Bastardo and Kyle Kendrick each pitched a perfect inning, before Ryan Madson picked up the save in the 11th.
Contreras has not pitched the past two nights, after pitching five of the previous seven days. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Contreras should be ready to pitch on Sunday, if needed.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel did not start Placido Polanco on Saturday, although he came through with a big pinch-hit single to start the 11th inning. He later scored the go-ahead run. Wilson Valdez started at third base and Pete Orr started at second base. ... Outfielder Domonic Brown, who is on the disabled list with a fractured hamate bone in his right hand, will play a couple of more games in extended Spring Training early next week. The Phillies will evaluate him then and see if he is ready to begin a rehab assignment. ... Left-hander J.C. Romero, who is on the disabled list, is rehabbing his strained right calf in Philadelphia. The Phillies believe Romero will likely be back on May 4, when he is eligible to be activated.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.