Tonight, Chase Utley will begin a brief, temporary career as designated hitter for the Clearwater Threshers (Whose mascot ,Phinley, has recently reached the Final Four of Mascot Mania). His ridiculous secret knee problem that has been torturing him all season has seemed to lapsed enough to allow for rehabilitation to reach a feasible, trackable level. Meaning, he has been cleared to do things in public, making it harder for Ruben Amaro to cloak his movements with shadows and mirrors.
But who will he be when he returns? An increasingly productive offensive presence? Or a shell of a man with no knees, thrown into an impossible situation? There is no way of knowing, but here at TBOH, we’re used to having answers, even if we have to force them out of unwilling participants.
“There’s no reason why the human body can’t recover fully from an injury, or why the same body couldn’t go back to performing as if it were a younger version of its current self,” I got a scientist to say at gunpoint.
“Wait, I can think of several reas–KYAAAARRGH,” replied the scientist across the room whom was somehow shot in the knee. It was a science convention they’d never forget.
Amaro was willing to concede that Chase has been feeling what doctors call “a little bit better,” and could be scooted about the Phillies’ minor league system for up to almost three weeks, turning places like central Pennsylvania and east New Jersey into bustling hubs of activity, instead of eerie dead zones of corn mazes and increasingly terrorized science conventions.
And so, we can look toward Chase with the same amount of undeterred hope and overyhyped excitement that we had during Spring Training. Which is well timed, when you consider all we have to look forward to about Ryan Howard.
“It’s going to be a long, long time until he’s 100-percent back.”