Face it, you don’t want to think about it too much. You already are sweating Ryan Howard not being able to start the season, and now being out indefinitely is looking more ominous. There is a little bit of comfort knowing that Jim Thome, John Mayberry, Laynce Nix and Ty Wiggington can all help out at first admirably until Howard returns. 

What you are trying to blow off are negative thoughts about Chase Utley.

No one really cared that Utley didn’t play in the first couple of spring training games. “Better keep him healthy for the regular season” is the consensus thought.

Now we are a full week into games and not only has Utley not played yet, there is no timetable for him to get on the field. You know, this happened in 2011 as well, and Utley ended up starting the season on the disabled list and then missing 50-plus games. Uh oh.

If Utley misses any amount of significant time, who plays second base? Late in the spring last year, the Phillies brought in Luis Castillo for a three-game tryout. That didn’t work out. Super utility man Wilson Valdez was the opening day two-bagger and filled in adequately until Utley returned.

Valdez was shipped to the Cincinnati Reds in the offseason, leaving Michael Martinez as the only remaining utility man. 

The Phils selected Martinez in the Rule-5 draft last season, but he didn’t do a lot to set the world on fire. He hit .196 with three home runs and 24 runs batted in in 234 plate appearances. He carried a microscopic .540 OPS. It’s doubtful the Phillies brass want to hand him significant amounts of playing time if Utley can’t go.

Wiggington can hit Major League pitching. There is not much doubt about that. However, defensively, second base is probably his fourth best position after first, third and left field.

I’m sure manager Charlie Manuel has thought about former gold-glove second baseman Placido Polanco at second, but keep in mind that Polly isn’t a poster child of health either, and second is a much more physically demanding position than third base.

All of this brings us to rookie Freddy Galvis. The 22-year-old native of Venezuela split time between Double-A and Triple-A in 2011. Between those two levels, Galvis his .278 with eight home runs, 43 runs batted in, 78 runs scored and 23 stolen bases. 

Galvis is considered a “plus” fielder but has primarily played shortstop. Expect to see Manuel pencil in Galvis quite a bit at second this spring with Utley out to see if he can A) handle the position defensively and B) do enough at the plate to survive.

Physically, Galvis is a lot like Valdez or Martinez. He’s 5’10”, 170 pounds, so he’s definitely not an intimidating presence. He’s been playing professionally since he was 17 years old, so there is still some upside. While his bat speed is slightly above average, hitting is where he stills needs to develop.  He is considered one of the best defensive shortstops in all of minor league baseball, which should make a transition to second base seamless if he works on the double play pivot.

So to sum it all up, here is to hoping we don’t have to worry about Galvis’ bat in 2012 and the season opens up with the familiar No. 26 trotting out to second base. If Utley can’t go, though, Galvis has an excellent shot to be in the everyday lineup if he shows he can handle big league pitching this spring.

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