Good news for

Chase Utley

.

The all-star second baseman will begin a rehabilitation assignment tonight in a doubleheader for double-A Reading. Utley is expected to be the second baseman in Game 1 and the designated hitter in Game 2. He will play second base again tomorrow. If he feels OK, he could return to the Phillies' lineup Sunday against San Diego.

Utley has not played since July 26, when he suffered a broken right hand. He was having an MVP-caliber season, hitting .336 with 17 home runs and 82 RBIs. Despite missing almost a month, he entered last night tied for the league lead in hitting. He was second in doubles (41), fifth in on-base percentage (.414), and 11th in RBIs.

"I think he'll make a difference," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Can he make that much of a difference? I don't know."

Flash in the pen

Tom Gordon

allowed two hits, two walks and three runs in the eighth inning of yesterday's 5-2 loss to Los Angeles. In his last nine appearances, he has allowed nine hits, eight runs and five walks in 62/3 innings for a 10.80 ERA. He has struck out four.

"I hope I'm not tricking myself here, because I really feel good," Gordon said.

Eaton ships out

Righthander

Adam Eaton

, who is on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, will throw 40 pitches tonight in a rehab start for Reading.

Eaton expects to be activated Tuesday and start against the Mets. In five career starts against the Mets, he is 5-0 with a 1.89 ERA.

Extra bases

In a rehab start Wednesday for single-A Clearwater, righthander

Scott Mathieson

allowed a hit, a run and a walk in two innings. He struck out two. Mathieson had Tommy John surgery last September. . . . Righthander

Freddy Garcia

, on the DL with a strained right shoulder, was scheduled to make a rehab start last night for Clearwater. . . .

Michael Bourn

(sprained left ankle) and

Yoel Hernandez

(strained right shoulder) left for Florida yesterday to continue rehabilitating in Clearwater.

- Todd Zolecki