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UTLEY TARGETS QUICKER RETURN

Times wires

PHILADELPHIA - Chase Utley is trying to beat another timetable.

When the Phillies star had surgery last week to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, the team said he will miss at least eight weeks. But the second baseman is optimistic he won't need that long.

"I'd like to be playing baseball in six weeks-ish," Utley said Monday.

A speedy return would be nothing new for the five-time All-Star, who was expected to miss up to six months following offseason hip surgery after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008 but was in the lineup on opening day.

Utley was injured trying to stretch a single in the June 28 game at Cincinnati. He was put on the disabled list the next day with a sprained ligament, and doctors later determined part of the ligament was detached from a bone. Surgery was performed Thursday in New York.

"The numbers that were told to me were five weeks for the ligament to heal back up properly, another week or so to get movement back in your hand," Utley said. "Then from a baseball standpoint, two, three, four, five games to get back in shape. We'll have to see how it goes. But at this point, I'm pretty optimistic."

ZAMBRANO TO THROW: RHP Carlos Zambrano is expected to resume working this week, though the Cubs aren't sure when he'll return to the team. The hot-tempered former ace was placed on the restricted list after a June 25 tirade in the dugout led to a verbal confrontation with 1B Derrek Lee.

In other Cubs news, the team shuffled its bullpen, recalling RHP Justin Berg from Triple-A Iowa and demoting RHP Jeff Stevens.

PETTITTE AN ALL-STAR: Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte will replace injured Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz for the July 13 All-Star Game. He was added to the AL team because he was next in line in voting by players.

BREWERS: RHP Yovani Gallardo said he felt better a day after cutting a start short because of a left oblique strain and is day to day. ... OF Geoff Jenkins will announce his retirement Friday in Milwaukee, where he started his career.

METS: INF Fernando Tatis went on the disabled list with a sprained right shoulder, and LF reliever Raul Valdes was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.

ORIOLES: LH closer Michael Gonzalez, on the 60-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain, won't return until after the All-Star break, pitching coach Rick Krantiz said.

RED SOX: RHP Josh Beckett, on the disabled list since May 19 with a lower back strain, is scheduled to pitch in a rookie-level Gulf Coast League game today with a limit of about 55 pitches. The GCL Red Sox visit the GCL Orioles at noon at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

REDS: RHP Aaron Harang was scratched from his start against the Mets with lower back pain. Rookie LHP Travis Wood started in his place.

TIGERS: RH reliever Joel Zumaya, who fractured his pitching elbow June 28, will have season-ending surgery July 12.

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