MLB Rumors: Chase Utley to Return to Philadelphia Phillies Lineup During First Week of July?

For a team that has won five-straight NL East titles, 2012 has been nothing but a disappointment for the Philadelphia Phillies as the 2008 World Series champions sit at the bottom of the division in mid June with a 29-34 record. While the main reason behind Philadelphia’s poor start should be blamed on injuries to numerous key players, it appears one player could be back in the lineup as early as next month–Chase Utley.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel recently discussed in a radio interview how he expects Utley back in the lineup one of the team’s games in the series against the New York Mets during the first week of July. Utley has yet to play in any of the team’s games during the 2012 season while recovering from offseason knee surgery, but the second baseman started his rehab assignment this week with Class A Clearwater.

Obviously, this would be a great boost for a team like Philadelphia that is already playing without star first baseman Ryan Howad–who ruptured his Achilles’ tendon during his final at bat against the St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs last year. It’s still questionable how effective Utley would be if he did manage to play against the Mets that early in July, but the Phillies have no other choice but to give this move a shot at this point in the season.

With the All-Star break right around the corner, this team can’t afford to fall much further at the bottom of the NL East if they have any shot at winning the division this year. This may just be one of the hottest MLB rumors at the moment, but if it ends up being true–this could be just the type of boost Philadelphia needs at this point in the season.

Dan Parzych is the Director of Content for RantSports.com

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