Utley tests hip, ready to push it further

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Philadelphia Phillies&#39; Ryan Howard is reflected in the World Series trophy after Game 5 of the baseball World Series in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. The Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 to win the series. &#40;AP Photo&#47;David J. Phillip&#41;</span></div>
March 20, 2009 6:15:58 PM PDT
Chase Utley is getting ready to put his hip to the nine-inning test. Utley played into the sixth inning Friday on his surgically repaired hip and had two hits and scored a run as the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals played to a 2-2 tie in 10 innings. He had three at-bats for the first time in four games this spring.

"Those are the steps we're going to make pretty soon," Utley said. "Everything has felt good as far as getting my timing down and so far everything has felt good with my hip."

Utley had a piece of the labrum shaved off his hip on Nov. 24. The Phillies were told he would need four to six months before he could return to the lineup but he played in a minor league intrasquad game Saturday and made his spring debut Sunday. He expects to be ready for opening day on April 5.

Manager Charlie Manuel said Utley likely would play Saturday in Clearwater against Minnesota and not make the trip to Fort Myers Sunday for Philadelphia's game against Boston.

"We'll still give him a blow every now and then," Manuel said. Utley said he probably could have played nine innings but it's "better to be safe than sorry."

Utley singled in the fourth and sixth innings off Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. He scored in the second on a double-play ball hit by Raul Ibanez.

Wainwright also allowed a home run to Ryan Howard leading off the second, his sixth homer of the spring.

Rick Ankiel hit a two-run homer off Phillies starter Carlos Carrasco in the third inning.

Wainwright had his third mediocre outing in four spring starts. He allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings.

"This told me you got some work to do still," Wainwright said. "But it's not time for the season yet. My delivery still needs some work."

Wainwright has a 3.68 ERA in 14 2-3 innings. He said his curveball has been steady but his slider is "terrible."

"This is a case where if this were the season you would try something else," he said.

Wainwright is on schedule to start the Cardinals' opener against Pittsburgh on April 6 in St. Louis but manager Tony La Russa said he is not ready "to talk about it."

La Russa did talk about Wainwright's performance.

"He's making enough mistakes to where he knows he has to keep working," La Russa said.

Carrasco, a rookie, is competing for the fifth spot in the Phillies' rotation. He played last season in double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

He allowed two runs on three hits and two walks in 4 2-3 innings. Manuel said Carrasco has to get more consistent with his changeup and curveball.

"If I don't make the fifth spot I'll go where they want to send me and do my job," Carrasco said.

Note: Phillies ace Cole Hamels played catch from 120 feet in Clearwater and is scheduled to throw in the bullpen Saturday barring a setback. He has been sidelined with inflammation in his left elbow.

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