Utley fields ground balls, won't put timetable on return

Utley fields ground balls, won't put timetable on return

PHILADELPHIA -- Chase Utley took another step forward in his recovery from a strained right oblique Thursday, but he remains more than a week away from rejoining the Phillies lineup.

Utley still feels some tenderness in the oblique, but he felt good enough to field a few ground balls at Citizens Bank Park.

"So far, so good," he said. "It's all about taking the next step and making sure we all feel comfortable in taking that next step."

Utley might not be back until mid-June, although he is remaining cautious. Push too hard, too fast and he could suffer a setback.

"I don't have a timetable," he said. "As soon as it feels better, I'll put more stress on it and go from there. The biggest test will be rotational stuff. That's what initially hurt it in the first place. That will be the last thing I do. I'm just running and getting back into baseball shape by taking ground balls. Those are the things I'll do until I'm ready to hit."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.