In preparation for the Phillies-Mets game on Sunday, the ESPN staff met with Charlie Manuel, and I walked out of his office thinking that Chase Utley is going to be back sooner than a lot of the published timelines. It's clear that Utley has made a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks, from what Manuel said -- but the Phillies have not put a precise target date for his return, and they will not do so.
I say don't put anything past GM Ruben Amaro because he is the same guy who was saying they would not be in on Cliff Lee last offseason. He said, or actually someone who works for him, that "that shipped has sailed" and "we are at our budget, we can't spend anymore." Remember those quotes?
With that said, I saw video of Utley sprinting around the bases and taking throws and groundballs at second base, and even turning double plays while watching the Sunday night game between the Mets and Phillies, so I think he is very close to returning. As if the Phillies needed him back!!
Utley will probably need a few games in a minor league rehab before returning the the Phillies starting lineup. I think we see Utley before Memorial Day, if not sooner.