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What’s Up With Willis & Where’s Utley?

After yesterday’s 4-run, partial inning disaster and reports of a sore arm, it is looking like the Dontrelle Willis experiment may come to a quick end.  It is a real shame though.  Willis had a spectacular career during his first four years in the majors.  But the 5 years that followed that were horrendous and Willis wound up spending a lot of time in the minors trying to get his groove back.

It would have been nice to see Willis finally succeed again for a number of reasons.  First, the Phillies can always use a solid lefty in the pen.  Second, he and Jimmy Rollins are good friends and he would have fit well in the clubhouse.  And finally, just because he seems like a cool guy who deserved another shot.

This is not to say he is officially done; spring training is not even half done yet.  But if you combine his first two performances with the new report of a sore arm, it does seem very unlikely that Willis will rebound in time to make the team.

And what is up with Chase Utley?  I understand based on his prior knee issues that manager Charlie Manual does not want to push him.  But he has done little more in spring training than take batting practice and has yet to appear in a game.  I get the idea of working him in slowly, but not working him in at all is leaving many questions lingering in the air.

Is there more to the situation than the Phillies are letting on?  Even Placido Polanco, who is also older and even had surgery in the off-season, has played a game this spring. In fact, Polanco is in the line-up today, but still no Utley.

It is understandable that the Phils want to be cautious with Utley after he missed nearly half the season in 2011.  But is this going overboard or is there something they are not telling us?  Stay tuned…

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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