Phillies’ Chase Utley hesitant to blame injury for 2015 struggles

Chase Utley has had an abysmal season at the plate, which may have been propelled by an ankle injury.

Charles LeClaire/Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Philadelphia Phillies veteran second baseman Chase Utley has been dealing all season with an ankle injury he sustained in January, which has now sent him to the disabled list, but he’s not convinced the injury is responsible for his immense struggles at the plate this season.

"It’s hard to tell," Utley said. "Obviously it’s been bothering me for a little while. Most players have aches and pains throughout the course of the year, so I chalked it up to that. … It’s really showing no improvement. So I think it’s a good time to get it right."

The 36-year-old infielder originally sprained his right ankle in January. Manager Ryne Sandberg was surprised to hear it had been bothering Utley based on the mobility he’s displayed this season.

"With the way that he’s moved around and run the bases and run hard and played defense, I don’t think it was holding him back all that much, in my opinion," Sandberg said. "But to have it bothering him now and like he said, it’s crept up on him to the point of getting it re-checked and re-evaluated … so that’s how he feels."

In 65 games this season, Utley is hitting .179 with a .257 on-base percentage, well below his respective career averages of .281/.366.

Whether the ankle has been affecting his play or not, Utley hopes to mend the injury for good with the DL stint.

"I had some good days and bad days," Utley said. "I felt I could play through it. I was obviously able to get on the field. But I don’t think it’s been beneficial for me."

The four-time Silver Slugger winner is slated to receive a cortisone injection on Wednesday to decrease the inflammation in his ankle, but isn’t certain when he’ll return.

"Talking to the doctor today, the more time I can lay off it, the better chance it has to heal properly," Utley said. "I don’t have an exact timeframe. It will be at least 15 days."

The Phillies hope that whenever he does return to the team that returns as Chase Utely they’ve known throughout the years.

(h/t Philadelphia Daily News)