Doc's second opinion is still out

Doc's second opinion is still out

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Doc's second opinion is still out

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PHILADELPHIA

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said there’s no mystery as to the unreleased results of the second opinion on Roy Halladay’s ailing shoulder.

Halladay met with Dr. David Altchek, the Mets medical director, last week after Phillies team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti diagnosed a strained latissimus dorsi muscle that will keep Halladay out for six to eight weeks.

Amaro said he doesn’t expect Altchek’s diagnosis to be any different. It’s just that Altchek hasn’t had a chance to view the results until Tuesday.

“Altchek and Ciccotti have talked,” Amaro said. “Altchek is just taking a look at some of the historical MRIs and the other diagnostic stuff. … We don’t really envision that it’s going to be anything different from what we have right now.”

Halladay has been doing shoulder strengthening exercises for the past week, but won’t throw for two more weeks.

At that point, the Phillies should have a better idea on his timetable for a return.

Howard, Utley playing

Amaro said both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley will serve as designated hitters today in an extended spring training game in Clearwater, Fla.

Howard, who is coming off Achilles surgery, will not run the bases. Amaro said his calf muscle isn’t strong enough yet for him to start running hard.

Utley played Monday and went 3-for-4 with a home run. He didn’t play Tuesday.

There is a six-day break in extended spring games after today. But Amaro couldn’t say if Utley will be ready to play second base by then. That, however, will be a good barometer on when Utley might return to the Phillies.

That’s because the extended spring games end June 14. If Utley has played second base by then, there’s a good chance he’d start a rehab assignment and possibly return by the All-Star break.

“Generally, when Chase is ready to go, he’ll let us know and he’ll go,” Amaro said.

Thome nears return, but not at 1st base

Amaro said Jim Thome, who has been out since April with a sore back, could return by this weekend when the Phillies begin a stretch of nine interleague games.

Amaro added that Thome won’t play first base again. That would limit him to serving as a designated hitter for the interleague games, which for the Phillies end June 24, and as a pinch hitter after that.

When asked if Thome can be effective serving as a pinch-hitter the rest of the season, Amaro responded: “I don’t know. That’s a good question. We’ll find out.”

Ruiz fourth in All-Star voting

It didn’t surprise Phillies manager Charlie Manuel that catcher Carlos Ruiz was a distant fourth among catchers in the voting for the All-Star game.

He’s behind the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina, the Giants’ Buster Posey and the Braves’ Brian McCann.

Ruiz is having the best offensive season of them all with a .368 average, eight homers and 32 RBIs.

“From the national standpoint, they probably don’t know (Ruiz) is this good,” Manuel said. “He probably doesn’t have the exposure the others have. At the same time, the voting ain’t over yet. He definitely deserves to be on the All-Star team.”

Ruiz said he’s not thinking about it, although he would be honored if he were selected.

“You play to win the World Series and make the All-Star game,” Ruiz said. “There’s nothing I can do except play hard and help my team.”

Extra innings

The MLB draft continued Tuesday with rounds 2-15. Amaro said he’s really enamored with second-round pick Dylan Cozens (77th overall), who was ticketed to be a defensive lineman at Arizona this fall. Amaro sees him as a power-hitting corner outfielder. Cozens told the Arizona Republic that he’ll sign with the Phillies. … Amaro said relievers Michael Stutes and David Herndon are progressing slowly from their arm injuries.

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