Interesting night at Reading with Utley, Franco, Biddle

READING – For the second night in a row, Chase Utley said he felt good playing on a rehab assignment in Reading and even he admitted that it’s possible he could re-join the Phillies on Friday for their weekend series with the New York Mets.

“I think it’s a possibility but I have to talk to those guys and see what we all want to do,” Utley said referring to manager Charlie Manuel and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

Utley was 0 for 5 on Thursday in Reading’s 5-2 loss to Portland, but hit the ball hard his final two at-bats. He also made a leaping grab of a line drive that he was impressed with.

“Tonight I jumped for a ball that would possibly give me trouble and it was no problem whatsoever,” Utley said.

For prospect watchers it was a big night at Reading because it also marked the debut of highly touted third baseman Maikel Franco, who was recalled after batting 299 with 16 home runs and 52 RBIs in 65 games at Clearwater.

The 20-year-old Franco is The Inquirer’s No. 3 Phillies prospect. He went 2 for 4.

“He is a young guy who has some bat speed and looks like he plays a pretty good third base,” Utley said of Franco. He is 20-years-old and will definitely improve and is fun to watch.”

This was a rough night for Reading lefthander Jesse Biddle, who allowed five earned runs in six innings.

“I just didn’t execute anything,” said Biddle, now 3-7 with a 3.29 ERA.

Reading manager Dusty Wathan said despite the loss he saw positives in the 21-year-old Biddle.

“To his credit he gave us six solid innings,” Wathan said. “I know there were a couple of pitches that hurt him a little but he had to battle through it and it is something a young pitcher has to do.”