Possible Plan Bs For Chase Utley

Phillies team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti released a statement this morning regarding second baseman Chase Utley; here's an excerpt:

An MRI was obtained that demonstrated his prior tendinitis, chondromalacia, and bone inflammation.  His chondromalacia symptoms persisted in spite of focused non-operative care, including a cortisone injection.  A subsequent cartilage-specific MRI was obtained confirming the initial diagnosis.  Continued non-operative treatment is being carried out and additional opinions will be obtained.

Additionally, here are comments from GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and head trainer Scott Sheridan, passed along by MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.  Amaro at least is not considering the idea that Utley could miss the season.

ESPN's Buster Olney presumes the Phillies are at least considering which second base candidates might become available this season.  We'll start with his two speculative ideas, and add a few more.

  • Chone Figgins, Mariners:  Figgins' value is at a low point, he's owed $26MM over the next three years at the least, and switching him to second base again would be questionable.
  • Jeff Keppinger, Astros:  He's making $2.3MM this year and is under team control for 2012 as an arbitration eligible player.  He could be a good fit.    
  • David Eckstein, free agent:  SI's Jon Heyman made this suggestion on Twitter.  On a minor league deal, there's no harm in adding Eckstein or a similar free agent.  Others include Willy Aybar, Julio Lugo, Bobby Crosby, and Cristian Guzman, although Guzman will miss at least the first half due to family issues.
  • Michael Young, Rangers:  Between Young's contract and Adrian Beltre's injury, this is difficult to picture.  Plus it'd create another uncomfortable situation when Utley is ready to play.  Heyman tweets that while the Phillies have not been in contact with the Rangers lately, top scout Charley Kerfeld is following them and Young.
  • Felipe Lopez, Rays:  Lopez is battling with out of options Elliot Johnson for the Rays' utility infielder job.  Johnson is dealing with a quad injury currently.  It's possible Lopez has an opt-out if he doesn't make the team.
  • Luis Castillo, Mets: If Castillo is released the Phillies could take a look, but they might prefer their internal options.  Castillo would only cost the league minimum.
  • Ramon Santiago, Tigers: He "could be a possibility" for the Phillies, tweets CBS' Danny Knobler.

Internally, the Phillies have Wilson Valdez and Brian Bocock on the 40-man roster and Josh Barfield and Pete Orr as non-roster invitees. 

Six days ago, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said regarding Utley's injury, "I'm not going to be doing anything else because of this.  I mean, we'll watch some of the other guys play, but we expect (Utley) to be our second baseman."  Look for the Phillies to make a minor addition at most unless Utley's condition takes a turn for the worse.

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