Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Dominic Brown and second baseman Chase Utley have both suffered injuries before the regular season has even begun. Dominic Brown injured his hamate bone in the wrist during a swing and had surgery for his wrist recently, and it will take at least four to six weeks to heal, according to Phillies trainer Scott Sheridan. In the meantime, it appears that Ben Francisco will take over for the regular season until Dominic Brown can be somewhat healed.
Then comes the big whopper that hasn’t been resolved yet, second baseman Chase Utley. He has right patellar tendinitis, chondromalacia and bone inflammation which “non-operative care,” including a cortisone shot, did not resolve. Now Chase Utley and the Phillies are looking for medical answers elsewhere. Unexpectedly, Chase Utley is not approaching any medical doctors for surgery of his knee. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro hasn’t held out that Chase Utley might still be available opening day, but Utley’s medical situation might not hold out that long. Phillies fans and others are hoping that Utley returns to full health as soon as possible, and this knee tendinitis won’t put Chase Utley out for most of the regular season.
With two of Phillies better batters potentially missing the beginning of the regular season, it will be time to lean on the starting rotation of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels to pull off some miracles on the mound without help on offense. Given the offensive firepower declining at least at the start of the season, first baseman Ryan Howard must be the man to lean on, but the Phillies and their fans, including myself, will see if he can live up to his five-year, $125 million contract extension from April 2010. His contract, as well Roy Oswalt’s, closed the salary cap for the Phillies and ultimately ousted one of the Phillies better batters and players Jayson Werth to the Washington Nationals.
The opening of the regular season begins in a couple of weeks with the Philadelphia Phillies facing the Houston Astros at home in Citizens Bank Park. This will be somewhat good news as the Houston Astros is not a particularly stellar team, despite the camaraderie between Phillies general manager Charlie Manuel and Houston Astros general manager Ed Wade. Both general managers have been given two-year extensions recently, but Charlie Manuel has had the better upside with his four NL East titles, a World Series Championship and his dominating starting pitching rotation for the next few seasons. Now it’s up to Charlie Manuel to work some miracles to generate some offensive firepower in the first few weeks of the season and for the Philadelphia Phillies fans to believe.