Utley headed to key doctor's appointment

Utley headed to key doctor's appointment

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies hope Chase Utley can return to the lineup before Sept. 1.

That could make Wednesday an important day.

Utley will head to New York to see hand specialist Andrew Weiland, who performed surgery on Utley's right thumb on July 1. Utley has been throwing and playing catch before batting practice, including before Tuesday's game against the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park. Utley also continues to field ground balls while wearing a thumb guard.

Utley still is not swinging a bat. Weiland could give him the OK to start hitting Wednesday.

If Utley starts hitting and his thumb responds well, there is a chance Utley could be back before Sept. 1, although the team's original eight-week timetable continues to be the best bet.