CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It has been difficult trying to solve the mystery surrounding Chase Utley this spring.
Utley's chronic right knee condition continues to be an issue, which is why he hasn't participated in fielding practice in weeks and hasn't played in a Grapefruit League game with just 19 days remaining before Opening Day in Pittsburgh.
Utley stopped briefly Saturday morning at Bright House Field to offer the following update:
"We're making progress," Utley said. "I hope to be on the field next week."
It is unclear if that means he will play in a Grapefruit League game or will just get on the practice field. But the Phillies maintain Utley will be ready for Opening Day.
"I don't think there's any chance he won't be ready Opening Day," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Thursday. "We fully expect him to be ready Opening Day."
Of course, it remains to be seen how effective Utley will be once he returns to the lineup.
"His problem is not going away," manager Charlie Manuel said. More than likely it maybe never goes away. We want him to be at a real good percentage of playing. Will he ever be 100 percent? I don't know about that. He might never be that."