PHILADELPHIA -- Chase Utley is back.
He rejoined the Phillies on Sunday morning at Citizens Bank Park and will be activated from the disabled list before Monday night's series opener against the Reds.
The Phils already made space for him on the 25-man roster when they optioned infielder Pete Orr to Triple-A Lehigh Valley following Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Texas Rangers at Citizens Bank Park.
Utley, who will be hitting third against the Reds, has missed the entire season recovering from patellar tendinitis in his right knee. It has been a tedious rehab, but the Phillies said the knee has responded favorably in nine rehab games with Class A Clearwater. Team physician Michael Ciccotti and head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan examined Utley on Sunday, and following a positive review decided to activate him.
Utley did not speak to reporters Sunday.
- 131 wins
- 121 wins
The Phils have scored three or fewer runs in nine consecutive games, so they certainly can use their No. 3 hitter. If Utley produces like he has in the past, he will fill a major void in the lineup.
But nobody really knows how effective Utley will be upon his return. Manager Charlie Manuel said this weekend he is unsure how many games Utley will be able to play because of his condition. The club does not want to overplay Utley early and find him unavailable late in the season or postseason, when he's needed most.
Manuel said he trusts Utley to tell him the truth about how his health.
"I know him," Manuel said. "His word is good."
But Utley has played through injuries in the past, so what makes Manuel believe Utley will come clean if he needs a day off?
"This is different," Manuel said. "He sees this as something ... we want to make sure we have him the rest of the season and we want to make sure we have him for a few years. Knowing him like I do and how I can talk to him, we know each other and I think he'll be totally honest with me."
Utley's health and productivity will play out over the course of the season. But for now, Utley is in Philadelphia and he is playing Monday. Beyond that, nobody really knows what is going to happen. But if the Phillies can avoid further injuries and Shane Victorino returns from the disabled list as early as June 3, the Phillies could have their everyday lineup for the first time this season in a couple of weeks.
"Once we get Chase and Victorino back, our lineup is going to be much better," Manuel said. "If you put [Josh] Hamilton and [Nelson] Cruz back in Texas' lineup, they get real better, too. So we'll get better."
Blanton headed to DL with elbow inflammation
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies will place right-hander Joe Blanton on the 15-day disabled list Monday, recalling Vance Worley from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to fill his spot in the rotation.
Blanton heads to the disabled list, retroactive to May 16, with right elbow inflammation. An MRI on Blanton's elbow Friday revealed no structural damage.
This is Blanton's second stint on the DL because of the elbow.
Worley returns to Philadelphia after posting a 2-0 record with a 1.13 ERA in four games. Both wins came in his two starts, April 29 against the Mets and May 4 against the Nationals.
Worley is scheduled to start Tuesday night against the Reds.
Madson unavailable Sunday, says he's fine
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies closer Ryan Madson was unavailable to pitch Sunday because of soreness in his right hand.
A ball hit off Madson's hand in Friday's 3-2 victory over the Rangers.
Madson said after Sunday's 2-0 loss to Texas that he is fine. He said there is just some soreness on the heel of his hand, where he was hit.
Lidge, Schneider to continue rehab in Florida
PHILADELPHIA -- Brad Lidge and Brian Schneider were headed to Florida on Sunday afternoon to continue their rehab.
Lidge is on the disabled list with a strained right posterior rotator cuff. He threw in the bullpen Sunday morning at Citizens Bank Park. He said he expects to throw two more times in the bullpen in Clearwater before appearing in two extended spring games. If he feels healthy, he said he would pitch in some rehab games with Class A Clearwater.
Lidge said he thinks he could be back in the Phillies' bullpen in 2 1/2 to three weeks.
"It feels great," Lidge said of his shoulder. "The trainers have done a great job. They've been working with me every day and it feels really strong."
Schneider is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He is uncertain about his timetable to return.
Contreras to pitch in rehab game at Triple-A
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Jose Contreras said he will pitch in a rehab game Monday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
He is on the disabled list with a strained right flexor pronator tendon.
"I feel good," Contreras said.
It is uncertain if Contreras will need to pitch in another rehab game before rejoining the Phils.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Nate Mink is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.