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Peter Gammons: three or four more really productive years from Utley
by Scott Butler 9/4/12

How to explain Chase Utley's 2012 season? After resting his sore knees over the entire offseason, Utley led most people to believe that he would be ready to go in 2012. Even general manager Ruben Amaro assumed everything was going well. In January, Amaro said, "He's doing good. He's feeling well."

As late as mid-March, Utley had not played a single inning in a single Grapefruit League game and had not fielded a ground ball in weeks, yet Amaro was still convinced he would be ready. "I don't think there's any chance he won't be ready Opening Day," Amaro Jr. said on March 15. "We fully expect him to be ready Opening Day."

Well, Utley wasn't ready for Opening Day. He finally joined the Phillies on June 26 and his knees appeared to be such a delicate issue that he would likely need regular days off throughout the rest of the season. Yet, miraculously, Utley played in 30 consecutive games from July 16 through August 19. Now it is hard to see evidence of any injury whatsoever.

All along we all assumed it was just a knee problem, but one guy attributes much of Utley's issues to his hip surgery. Peter Gammons had an interesting take on the whole Utley situation when he was on WIP a couple weeks ago.

"I think we all thoroughly underestimated, I know he did, how difficult it is to come back from that kind of hip surgery.  I talked to people from Harvard Medical School a year ago about it and they said…the procedure that he and Alex Rodriguez and Mike Lowell and some others had is only about 12 to 14 years old."

"Nobody still knows exactly what to expect after you have that kind of operation and it’s clear that…once you’ve had that operation you naturally change your running gate. When you change the running gate you’ve had since you started to become athletic as a teenager then that affects other parts of your body. A-Rod’s broken down in about six different places, Utley’s broken down a couple different places, Lowell just couldn’t play again."

"I think that he’s evolving except that he’s in such great shape that I think we still may see three or four really productive years out of him. Especially we all know how the competitive juices burn with him, he just he boils at all times."

Pretty revealing comments if you ask me. And did you catch the second to last sentence? Peter Gammons expects not one more good seasons or a couple decent seasons, but three or four "really productive" seasons. I don't know if I buy it yet, but like what Peter is selling.

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