Clearwater, FL – Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley has ruled himself out for Opening Day due to chronic knee problems, but he won't have surgery and expects to play this season.
"I'm not looking at any surgery," Utley told reporters on Sunday. "I'm not looking at any type of injections. I'm looking at a daily routine that consists of manual therapy, strength training, mobilization of the joints."
Utley, who has yet to appear in a game during spring training, confirmed that he met with a physical therapist in Phoenix for four or five days.
The visit to a specialist came after Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week that "Chase's rehab process has come to a bit of a plateau."
Utley didn't put a timeline on his return, but seemed optimistic about his future.
"I'm 33 years old. I know some people think that's old, but I still feel like I have a lot of baseball left in me," Utley said.
Utley was also sidelined to start the 2011 campaign because of knee issues. He missed 46 games and didn't appear in a big league contest until May.
Utley played just 103 games last year and batted only .259, well below his career average of .290, and his power numbers have also dropped.
He reached the 30-homer plateau three times during his career and also knocked in 100 runs four times, but last year he belted just 11 homers and drove in only 44 runs.
"My right knee last year was the knee that bothered me. And my left knee felt pretty good," Utley said. "This year it's the complete opposite. My right knee feels very good, which is in my mind a positive. But now my left knee is a little upset. So we made some changes last year to my right knee. It worked because it feels strong. It feels good. Now I have to make similar changes to my left knee. Again, it'll take a little time to see how it goes."