Yeah, Yeah, I know — Who’s on 1st in that old Abbott and Costello skit.
Associated Press Writer Randy Pennell reports for Yahoo sports on Feliz;
Having surgery [this past] Thursday on his back. He spent 26 days on the disabled list last season with a lower back injury. The operation will be followed by an eight-to-12 week rehabilitation program.
Feliz hit .249 with 14 homers and 58 RBIs after joining the Phillies as a free agent before the season.
Therefore, it appears that the 3rd baseman should be ready to hit the ground running during 2009 spring training.
However, Pennell notes that Utley’s right hip surgery, scheduled for next week, is to;
Repair any bone or cartilage damage he may have in his right hip. He will be able to begin baseball activity in three to four months. But depending on the extent of the damage, full recovery could take until May, team officials said Thursday.
“Our feeling is that he’s going to be fairly close to ready if not ready by opening day,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “We fully expect to have Chase Utley with us for the bulk of the season.”
Utley was bothered by symptoms during the season but still hit .292 and led all second basemen with 33 home runs and 104 RBIs. While his season numbers were impressive, Utley started the season very well and tailed off in the last four months.
Utley had 18 home runs and 47 RBIs through the end of May but hit just 15 home runs the rest of the season.
So there is talk of using utility infielder Eric Bruntlett at 2nd base to spell Utley and/or minor league prospect Jason Donald could see time at 2nd base on the major league level. Bruntlett managed to come through with a few clutch hits at critical junctures, but on the whole, he was what he was — a .217 hitter who was able to fill in at infield positions and as a late-inning defensive replacement for leftfielder Pat Burrell.
Phillies plans seem very much up in the air should Utley not, in fact, be ready to go by opening day. But here’s a thought that I haven’t seen or heard on the blogs; Tadahito Iguchi.
Remember him? In 2007, when Utley was hit in the hand requiring surgery, the Phils didn’t skip a beat. They went out and traded for Iguchi who filled the 2nd base void during Utley’s DL stint providing some pop with the stick. He finishing the season with the Phils hitting .304 with 42 hits in 138 ABs in 45 games while quickly becoming a fan favorite.
Hesitating to switch to 3rd base and under contractual restriction, Iguchi was picked up by the San Diego Padres where he played 81 games in 2008 before going down with an injury and then being released. The Phils picked him up again as insurance at the beginning of September.
Iguchi’s spelling Utley during his rehab period could be the best possible move the Phils could make in the situation.