Utley leaves Clearwater to visit specialist

PBR - Chase Utley left camp on Monday to visit a specialist due to chronic soreness in both of his knees.

Utley has yet to appear in a contest this spring and now his odds of opening the season without a trip to the disabled list appear slim.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. released the following statement Monday morning: “Chase's rehab process has come to a bit of a plateau. He has made some strides but not enough to take the field. He is headed out of town for a few days to be evaluated by a specialist that has helped athletes overcome his issue. We anticipate that this trip will allow him to build on what he has already done with Scott Sheridan in order to get over the hump. He wants more than anything to be on the field with his teammates and we believe that this is a step in that direction.”

Amaro said he expects Utley to be back in camp by early next week.

The 33-year-old battled knee ailments throughout the 2011 season and played in 103 games, hitting a career-low .259 with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs.

Utley had been participating in drills early in camp, but the soreness progressively got worse and forced him to scale back his workouts. 

In the meantime, rookie Freddy Galvis appears poised to inherit the starting job at second base until Utley returns. Known for his defensive abilities Galvis has impressed this spring at the plate, hitting .278 with a home run and eight RBIs.

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