READING - The Phillies need help in their bid to make the postseason, and they will get it soon from Chase Utley and Adam Eaton, who made rehabilitation appearances last night with double-A Reading.
The Reading Phillies faced the Akron Aeros in an Eastern League doubleheader. Eaton, who expects to return to the parent club Tuesday to face the New York Mets, tossed the first two innings of the opener, which Reading won, 5-2.
Utley, who has been on the disabled list since July 27 with a broken right hand, got to swing the bat in both games. He played second base last night in the first game, going 1 for 3 with a single. He was 0 for 3 as the designated hitter in the second game, which Akron won, 4-3.
The all-star second baseman is slated to play here again today and could be back on the Philadelphia roster tomorrow.
"We'll see," he said. "I felt like I saw the ball pretty well tonight. I didn't get all the results you'd want. But again, it was my first day back in four weeks. The main thing is that my hand felt great."
Asked whether he felt any pain, Utley smiled and said: "No pain whatsoever. It's the best sign I think there is."
Utley was injured July 26 when Washington Nationals pitcher John Lannan hit him on the hand with a pitch. He was batting .336 with 17 homers and 82 RBIs at the time.
Eaton went on the DL Aug. 15 with inflammation in his right shoulder. He hit the first batter he faced last night, but after his two-inning stint, he declared himself ready to return.
"Throwing 38 pitches in two innings is obviously a little more than I wanted to throw," Eaton said. "I would have liked to go out there for three [innings], but it felt good to get back out there. It definitely felt better in the second inning."
Eaton allowed two earned runs and three hits. Of his 38 pitches, 23 were strikes and 15 were balls.
Before going on the DL, he had struggled in his last 10 games, going 2-4 with a 7.96 ERA. For the season, he is 9-8 with a 6.36 ERA.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel had suggested that Eaton could use the time off to get better physically and mentally, and the pitcher said last night that his time away from the parent club had been productive.
"I don't think anybody ever feels 100 percent, but I definitely feel a lot better than I did before I went on the DL," he said. "Obviously, there were two things accomplished, getting back healthy, and getting back mentally a little better."