Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made the obvious official Thursday.
Asked if there was any chance that Chase Utley would be ready for the start of the season, Amaro said, "I would not think so. He has not been on the field yet and the season is only a week away."
Utley, sidelined by patellar tendinitis since before the start of the Grapefruit League schedule, continued to take batting practice before the Phillies' game against Minnesota at Bright House Field, but he remains unable to take infield practice with his teammates.
Amaro said there has been some improvement since Utley started doing rehab exercises recommended by an undisclosed specialist.
Who should start at second for the Phillies on opening day?
"I think he feels better, but it will be a long-term process," the GM said.
Amaro said Utley will travel with the team when the Phillies leave Clearwater after Monday's game against Houston.
With Utley starting the season on the disabled list, the starting job at second base figures to fall to either Wilson Valdez or Luis Castillo. Castillo made his second straight start at second against the Twins Thursday after signing a minor-league contract earlier in the week.
In other news, third baseman Placido Polanco remained out of the lineup as he recovers from a hyperextended left elbow. Polanco has taken batting practice four straight days and said he was ready to play Thursday, but it was decided he should take one more day off.
Polanco jokingly penned his name on the lineup card when he saw he was not playing.
You can read more about Utley and Polanco in Friday's Inquirer.
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