Notes: Utley rehabbing in Minors
Infielder started Double-A game Friday as broken hand heals
PHILADELPHIA -- Climbing the steps from the dugout to the field, Pat Burrell turned to the media contingent gathered for manager Charlie Manuel's daily session."I'm surprised you guys aren't in Reading," he said. Despite a big game against the Wild Card-leading Padres later that evening, Burrell and his teammates sensed that there were some big at-bats taking place in Reading, Pa., where Chase Utley had gone to begin a rehab assignment. With Double-A Reading, Chase Utley went 1-for-3 in the first seven-inning game, playing second base. He went 0-for-3 as the designated hitter in Game 2 -- his first two games since he broke his right hand July 26. He's expected to play Saturday and Sunday. He went 1-for-6 in a double-header playing for Double-A Phillies. He started at second in the first game and designated hitter in the second.
Since breaking a bone in his right hand July 26, the Phillies have batted .263 with 132 runs scored in 25 games, but have gone cold in their last 13 games heading into Friday, hitting .235 and scoring 57 runs.While Tadahito Iguchi has batted .303 (entering Friday) as Utley's replacement, others have struggled, notably Ryan Howard, who has hit .187 with four homers and 14 RBIs since Utley was placed on the disabled list on July 27. Howard is on pace for 201 strikeouts, enough to establish a new Major-League record. "I think (Utley) will make a difference," Manuel said. "Could he make that much of a difference? I don't know." Utley will likely slide back into the third spot in the batting order once he returns, shifting Burrell to sixth and Shane Victorino to second, where Iguchi had been. Iguchi could start if Utley isn't ready for everyday duty or be a right-handed pinch-hit option. Eaton, too: Adam Eaton returned to Reading for the first time since 1999, when he was a young Phillies prospect. He threw 38 pitches, 23 for strikes. He began his night by hitting Akron's Trevor Crowe, then gave up singles to Brandon Pinckney and Jordan Brown. Eaton gave up a sacrifice fly to Michael Aubrey, and retired the next two hitters. He gave up a one-out single in the second, but induced an inning-ending double-play grounder. The right-hander is expected to come off the disabled list and start Tuesday game against the Mets, He's 5-0 with a 1.89 earned run average in five career starts against New York. Victorino OK, so far: Shane Victorino left Friday's game after aggravating his right calf. He raced to first beating out an infield single in the eighth, and was replaced by Jayson Werth. Manager Charlie Manuel said after the game that Victorino was fine, but probably won't start on Saturday. Zagurski to have surgery: Mike Zagurski's torn right hamstring ended his whirlwind rookie season, and the lefty will have season-ending surgery. Zagurski will have the surgery performed by Steelers team doctor Jim Bradley on Monday in Pittsburgh. The recovery time is four to six weeks. "I'm hoping to be at full blast about a month before Spring Training , so I can start throwing and be ready to win a job," Zagurski said. The 24-year-old injured his hamstring trying to field an infield single. The team hoped that rest might help, but surgery became the best option. He'll be in a cast for six weeks, and won't be largely immobilized for the first three. Zagurski went 1-0 with a 5.91 ERA in 25 games. He held left-handers to a .216 average, and hopes the team's decision-makers remember that when Spring Training arrives. "There were obviously some good things and some bad things, but I think they saw some things they like," Zagurski said. "Hopefully, come Spring Training, I'll get a chance to win a job." Philling In: Reliever Jose Mesa had a second straight nightmarish outing. He surrendered four runs in the ninth inning, two days after giving up five in one-third of an inning to the Dodgers. Coming up: Kyle Lohse (7-12, 4.61 ERA) cruised through six innings in his Monday start, then ran into trouble with two outs in the seventh, when he and the bullpen surrendered the lead in an 8-4 loss. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 4.97 ERA in four starts with the Phillies. He'll oppose Clay Hensley (2-3, 6.70 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. ET Saturday in the middle game of this weekend's three-game series.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.