Phils taking their time with Utley, Polanco

Phils taking their time with Utley, Polanco

Phils taking their time with Utley, Polanco
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies said last month they planned to bring along Chase Utley and Placido Polanco slowly in Spring Training.

They meant it.

Polanco, who had sports hernia surgeries after last season, made his Grapefruit League debut in Monday's 9-3 win over the New York Yankees at Bright House Field. He went 2-for-3 with one RBI. Utley, who has a chronic right knee condition, has not played so far and might not play for at least another week.

"It's going to be a while yet," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that was part of their original plan.

"We talked about him not playing for the first week or two weeks," he said of Utley. "We're going to ease him into it. We know he'll be ready when the bell rings. We just want to make sure he's as fresh and as healthy as he can possibly be on Opening Day."

So Utley is healthy then?

"He seems fine," Amaro said. "We're just taking things slowly with him. There's no reason to start putting the pounding on his knees that typically he would have during this time. There's no reason to start that process now when we can start it a little bit later on."

Polanco said he sees benefits to the way he is being handled this spring.

"If you don't play every day, it's not a problem," he said. "I don't have a long swing, so it doesn't really take a lot of at-bats for me to get ready. ... I've been very happy about the way I've been feeling. I haven't felt anything."