PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies second baseman Chase Utley took the first step of what will be a grueling process to prepare for the 2009 season, when he underwent Monday morning surgery on his right hip. The two-time All-Star had the procedure performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. "Our early reports are that it was very successful surgery," said Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. at the red-carpet premiere for the release of the DVD commemorating the 2008 World Series champions. "It was favorable."
Amaro declined to elaborate on exactly how favorable, saying more will be known Tuesday, when he confers with head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan, Kelly and team physician Michael Ciccotti. The team is hopeful for a quick recovery, putting Utley in a uniform sooner than the worst-case scenario of the beginning of June. Utley's condition was distressing news last week to a team that celebrated its first World Series title since 1980. One of the team's best hitters and one of its on-field leaders, Utley is a hard-nosed player who treats every play as if it's his last. Through June 3, the All-Star second baseman was batting .321 with a .684 slugging percentage and was leading the Major Leagues with 21 home runs. He had become the early favorite for the National League Most Valuable Player Award. But after that, his production dropped, and he hit .272 with 12 homers. Utley hit just .220 in the postseason, with two home runs during the World Series. He constantly shrugged off speculation about his condition, always joking or smiling. His name popped up on the team's internal injury report in mid-May, but Utley kept playing. "That's always tough news to hear, but he's strong and will come back and be fine," Ryan Madson said. "We don't want him to rush back, though. We want him to be ready."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.