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Phillies Rushing Back Howard and Utley? a Fantasy Owner's Concern

Owners of Utley and Howard Hope Both Are Sufficiently Healthy to Make a Fantasy Impact

Yahoo Contributor Network

There is a big difference between fantasy baseball and the 'real' game when it comes to analysis. Fantasy owners rely on their roster regulars playing everyday, contributing to as many games played at a position as their league allows - typically 162. The only thing worse than having your second string infielder starting in your lineup is losing out on starts altogether.

That is what's so frustrating about the return of Chase Utley. On Wednesday, Utley assumed his normal role at second base and promptly welcomed the Pittsburgh Pirates' James McDonald to Philadelphia with a solo shot in his first plate appearance of the season. He finished the day three for five.

The next afternoon Utey was nowhere to be found in the starting lineup as Mike Fontenot played second base.

Meanwhile in Single-A Lakewood, Ryan Howard made his first rehab appearance going two for four. How did he look? It depends on who you ask. According to the Washington Post, Howard ran without a hitch. Meanwhile the Philadelphia Inquirer reported he looked "hobbled and forced."

In fairness to Howard, the game he played yesterday was his first action of the season and he is at first base this evening. Yet Utley's case is a little more perplexing for owners. Despite the Thursday game being an afternoon contest, if Utley was 100 percent he would be in the field, especially given right handed pitcher A.J. Burnett was on the mound. The only logical conclusion fans and owners can come to is that Utley will be and needs to be eased into playing time.

Howard has also admitted to not being 100 percent. When asked when he believes he will be completely healed Howard said, "Honestly, who knows. Maybe not until next year. But you know if it's 80, 85 percent, the only thing I can do is give you 100 percent of 85 percent."

Both developments are disappointing for fantasy owners as well as fans. All they can hope is both are as healthy as possible and won't suffer significant setbacks as their respective seasons progress.

Sources: Yahoo! Sports

Robert Watkins is former investment professional and partner. A native New Yorker until 9/11, he considers Pa. his adoptive home. A passionate Yankees fan and Pennsylvania sports enthusiast, Robert is a frequent contributor to Yahoo! Sports and News.

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