It's too early to label it a crushing blow, because the exact extent of Chase Utley's thumb injury is still unknown. But an MRI revealed a sprain that is bad enough to warrant a trip to the disabled list, meaning the Phillies will be without their star second baseman for at least the next 15 days.
Utley has already left Cincinnati to return to Philadelphia. He will see a hand specialist tomorrow and surgery remains a possibility.
They'll also spend the bulk of that time without third baseman Placido Polanco, who was placed on the DL today as he continues to recover from a sore elbow that has plagued him on and off throughout the season.
The Phillies recalled Greg Dobbs and Brian Bocock from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The move means that three of the Phillies' eight Opening Day regulars will be on the disabled list until at least Saturday, when starting catcher Carlos Ruiz is eligible to return from a concussion.
For a team that has already struggled to score runs in stretches, the loss of Utley for 15 days could be a killer.
Utley has only gone on the disabled list once in his career -- back in 2007 when he broke his hand and missed a month after being hit with a pitch by the Nationals' John Lannan.
So what now?
Well, Bocock and Dobbs obviously aren't close to the level of the two guys they are replacing. Bocock is hitting .179 with a .239 OBP and .231 SLG at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Dobbs has two hits and seven strikeouts in 17 at-bats since he was optioned to Lehigh Valley last week.
The Phillies now have six players on their roster who have spent time with the Triple-A IronPigs this season: LHP Mike Zagurski, C Dane Sardinha, Bocock, Valdez, Dobbs and RHP Nelson Figueroa.
They also have seven players on the disabled list:
- Chase Utley (6/29, sprained thumb)
- Placido Polanco (backdated to 6/26, elbow contusion)
- Carlos Ruiz (backdated to 6/19, concussion)
- Ryan Madson (4/28, broken toe)
- J.A. Happ (backdated to 4/16, elbow strain)
- Chad Durbin (6/24, strained hamstring)
- Antonio Bastardo (backdated to 6/16, elbow inflammation)
Madson is making his second rehab appearance tonight and is hopeful of returning before the All-Star Break, which begins on July 12. Happ is making his fifth rehab appearance tonight, although the Phillies are still taking a wait-and-see approach with the lefty. He could return within the next week, or they could decide he still isn't ready and either give him one more minor league start or stop his rehab assignment.
Utley is eligible to return on July 15, which is the first day back from the All-Star Break.
Polanco is eligible to return on July 11, which is the last day of play before the All-Star Break.
Durbin is eligible to return July 9, while Ruiz is eligible to return July 4, which is Sunday.