Utley: "It's still going to be a slow process, unfortunately"
But the five-time All-Star won't be playing this weekend at Petco Park. And it doesn't sound like he'll be sent on a minor league rehab assignment any time soon, either.
Utley, who has been sidelined with chronic right knee pain for the last eight weeks, spoke to the Daily Times after Wednesday's game.
Here's the brief conversation, which ended with Utley saying his rehab remains "a slow process, unfortunately."
Q: I know you've run a few times in the last week. How feel are you feeling compared to three weeks ago when we left spring training?
Utley: "I feel better than I did three weeks ago, for sure."
Q: You've been running, fielding... is the next step to try to do it in a game situation, or inching closer to that?
Utley: "That's the goal but that's definitely not the next step. The next step is just to continue doing what I'm doing and to hope that it responds well and so far it has."
Q: So it's just all a gradual process, have to continue to practice patience?
Utley: "At this point we've been patient with it so far, so I don't see a reason to change that."
Q: You have to be getting antsy to get out there.
Utley: "Of course I do. Of course."
Q: With the fielding drills, have you increased what you've done, in terms of range of ground balls, what you're able to do?
Utley: "From Day one until now, it's been a little bit of a progression, taking more, moving a little bit more. But it's still going to be a slow process unfortunately."