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Utley hopes to return in middle of June

Utley hopes to return in middle of June

Utley hopes to return in middle of June

MILWAUKEE -- Phillies second baseman Chase Utley said Friday he believes he can rejoin the team by the middle of the month.

"Yeah, it's realistic," he said.

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Utley has been on the disabled list since May 21 with a strained right oblique. He said he already feels he can take a few swings with the bat, but will wait a little longer to avoid any chance of a setback. A strained oblique can be finicky.

"I am definitely feeling better," he said. "I'm hoping to take some swings in the next three or four days, and at that point, I'll probably know where I'm at."

Utley expects he will need some sort of rehab assignment, but it might be locally.

"We haven't talked about it, but I don't think Clearwater is in the plans," he said of the Class A Phillies affiliate that plays in that Florida town.

But a rehab game in Double-A Reading or Triple-A Lehigh Valley might be.

"Possibly, yeah," he said.

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

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