Utley out eight weeks

Updated: July 2, 2010, 12:03 AM ET
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

Utley
Utley

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley will be out at least eight weeks after having surgery on his injured right thumb, Phillies athletic trainer Scott Sheridan said.

The operation was performed Thursday in New York by hand specialist Dr. Andrew Weiland. Trainers said Utley must wear a splint on the thumb for five weeks before he begins rehabilitation. Utley and the Phillies will get a better idea exactly how long he will be sidelined once the stitches are removed from the thumb.

"If Utley's out for eight weeks, we need someone to play consistent baseball and play good -- kind of equal to him, even for that period of time," manager Charlie Manuel said Thursday.

Utley, who was put on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, hurt his thumb while sliding into second base Monday night while trying to stretch a leadoff single into a double against Cincinnati. He's hitting .277 with 11 homers and 37 RBIs and is the leading vote-getter at second base in National League All-Star voting.

Sheridan also said Phillies second baseman Placido Polanco would not need surgery on his inflamed left elbow, meaning he's likely to return in three to four weeks.

While the Phillies will try to get by with utility infielders Greg Dobbs, Juan Castro, Wilson Valdez and Brian Bocock for now, general manager Ruben Amaro is believed to be looking at available infielders with experience.

"What we got right now is what we're work with. ... There's different ways of replacing somebody besides going and getting someone in a trade," Manuel said. "People on your team stepping up, or some guy comes along and he ends up having a career year, you can do it that way."

The Phillies went into Thursday night's game in Pittsburgh trailing NL East leader Atlanta by 3½ games and second-place New York by two games. They went 13-13 in June after beginning the month a half-game out of the division lead.

Jayson Stark is a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Jayson Stark | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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