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Utley admits he'll miss start of year

CLEARWATER — Phillies 2B Chase Utley admitted he will miss the entire exhibition schedule for a second straight year and will not be in opening-day lineup because of his injured knees.

The five-time All-Star, limited to 103 games last year when he didn't play his first game until May 23, said Sunday he will not have season-ending surgery and does not have plans to retire. He said he feels better than he did at this point last year and fully intends to play this season.

"I'm not hitting right now," Utley said in his first public comments about his health in more than a month. "I'm doing things in the trainer's room to build strength, to get more flexible in all areas. And once I feel comfortable enough to hit, I'll hit."

Though Utley expressed optimism about his long-term future, he admitted he was "disappointed, upset and not happy" about the unexpected problems in his left knee.

"My right knee last year was the one that bothered me and my left knee felt pretty good," he said of the injury that landed him on the disabled list for two months. "This year, it's the complete opposite."

THOME AT FIRST: Jim Thome played five innings at first base and hit a two-run double for a Phillies split squad in a 3-3, 10-inning tie against the Orioles in Clearwater.

The 41-year-old, who has not played the field in the regular season since June 13, 2007, did not have any grounders hit to him. He had three putouts.

"It felt fun to be out there. The adrenaline was pretty awesome," said a smiling Thome, likely to get some time at first while Ryan Howard recovers from ankle surgery. "I haven't had adrenaline like that in quite a while."

Yanks: Joba better

TAMPA — Yankees RH reliever Joba Chamberlain was released from a hospital three days after dislocating his right ankle bouncing on a trampoline.

General manager Brian Cashman said Chamberlain's recovery is going as well as can be expected.

Chamberlain was hurt while playing with his son Thursday at a recreation spot. He needed surgery for the injury, in which a bone broke through the skin.

Cashman said Chamberlain, 26, will be in a cast for six weeks.

PINEDA STRONG: RHP Michael Pineda allowed one run and five hits over five innings in New York's 1-1, 10-inning tie with a Tigers split squad.

Jays: Pitcher hurt

DUNEDIN — RHP Dustin McGowan, expected to be a member of the Blue Jays' starting rotation, pulled himself out of a minor-league game with what was diagnosed as plantar fasciitis, painful inflammation of tissue along the bottom of his right foot. He is listed as day to day.

Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos said he didn't think the injury was serious. "This is just a blip, if anything," he said.

McGowan, who turned 30 Saturday, missed the 2009 and 2010 seasons and most of 2011 after multiple shoulder operations.

DEMOTIONS: Toronto optioned INF David Cooper and OF Travis Snider to Triple-A Las Vegas and returned C Yan Gomes and INFs Chris Woodward and Jonathan Diaz to their minor-league camp.

.LOCAL CAMPS

Blue Jays

Where: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin

Today: off

Info: bluejays.com/spring

training; (727) 733-0429

Phillies

Where: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater

Today: vs. Red Sox, 1:05, Clearwater

Info: phillies.com/spring

training; (727) 467-4457

Yankees

Where: Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King, Tampa

Today: off

Info: yankees.com/spring

training; (813) 879-2244

Utley admits he'll miss start of year 03/25/12 [Last modified: Sunday, March 25, 2012 8:06pm]
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