Don't get too excited just yet, because we still don't have an official ETA on Chase Utley. But this news is rather encouraging, via Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (apologies for the auto-play video):
Chase Utley went to the Cecil P. Englebert Recreational Complex in Dunedin, Fla., on Saturday to competitively swing a bat for the first time in 196 days. He played in nothing more than a glorified scrimmage with Phillies and Blue Jays players in extended spring training. He played in the field only every other inning.
But in seven at-bats, he had five hits. Two were home runs.
"That's good anywhere," manager Charlie Manuel said.
Can't argue with Charlie on that one. Even if they were playing coach-pitch with courtesy runners, a 5-for-7 day is excellent. But again, as Gelb reports, "reality says Utley is not on the cusp of returning from the tendinitis, chondromalacia, and bone inflammation in his right knee that has sidelined him since the beginning of spring training. He is closer, though."
That's really a lot of bad stuff going on in one knee. I can't guarantee that this isn't the sell-high moment for Utley, in fact. But if you've got him stashed on your fantasy DL, you've finally got some decent news.
• The Astros have placed Jason Bourgeois (oblique) on the 15-day DL, just when he was beginning to play his way into 2B eligibility. Bummer. Bourgeois is just 19 percent owned despite the 12 steals and the .407/.439/.500 slash-line, delivered over 57 plate appearances. Basically everything he hits is either a liner or a ground ball, a formula that should continue to work when he returns. Own him if you can.
• Boston has called up shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias, replacing the injured Marco Scutaro. While it should be fun to watch Iglesias, he projects as a more interesting real-life player than a fantasy commodity. The glove is ready, the bat is likely not. He was hitting just .253/.278/.253 at Triple-A Pawtucket, with two steals in four attempts. If you're involved a fantasy league where defensive replacements and pinch-runners have value ... well, you should maybe change your league settings. That seems awful.
• Pedro Alvarez (quadriceps) is a strong candidate for the DL according to Clint Hurdle. Most of you have already resolved this problem, however, by dropping Pedro (1,876 times on Saturday). This is a tricky case, because Alvarez's poor start (.212, 1 HR) isn't really about bad luck. He more or less deserves his miserable numbers. He's hitting .313 on balls-in-play, striking out at an ugly rate (34.3 percent), and obviously not clearing fences.
• Andrew Bailey just threw a 30-pitch session to live hitters (well, OK, Kevin Kouzmanoff), blending in a few breaking pitches for the first time since he was injured. This qualifies as steady, welcome progress as Bailey nears a rehab assignment. I, for one, cannot wait to fire Brian Fuentes.
• Following Nelson Cruz's shocking injury — seriously, who saw that coming? — it sounds like Chris Davis will be something more than a part-timer. So that's an extra strikeout or two per game for opposing pitchers. I thought our dead friend Hoss summed up Davis nicely, via tweet.
Photo via AP Images