Phillies fans must be wondering who's next after hearing All Star 2nd baseman Chase Utley has left training camp in Clearwater with a balky knee to see a specialist. Utley hasn't played in a spring training game yet this year and has been limited to batting practice only since the start of camp. Utley missed significant time last season with trouble in that same knee. He had some of the worst offensive numbers of his career last season hitting only 259 with 11 homers and 44 RBI's. Combine the latest news, on Utley, with the uncertain return of slugging 1st baseman Ryan Howard, who continues to recover from off season Achilles surgery, and the Phils have some worries going into Opening Day.
The NL East will be a much tougher row to hoe this year as all the teams in the division have gotten much better. The Phils will be picked to win the division but the Marlins, Braves and Nationals are going to make this of one the toughest in baseball. The only team without a chance of winning the NL East are the Mets. Pitching is going to have to carry the Phils the first couple of months while their 2 top offensive threats heal. Don't be surprised if the Phillies look at some alternatives, especially for Utley. The team might have to dangle some of their top prospects to pick up a replacement for Utley. For the first time in years the Phils might be pressed in the regular season.