Nested in the prime real estate between Jimmy Rollins and Roy Halladay, Chase Utley's locker was adorned with a jersey and bats even before he arrived in Washington.

By Saturday morning, he was right at home. He worked out in the clubhouse, mixed a protein shake in the dining room, took swings in the cages. Until the game began and, for the 28th straight game, his name wasn't in the lineup, it was almost as if Utley had never been absent.

But of course, Utley has been gone. For more than a month, the Phillies played on without him as he rehabbed his sore left knee in Arizona. Saturday, however, may mark a turning point.

"I feel like I've made some strides," Utley said. "Over the next week or so I'll be on the field trying to get more ground balls and making some progressions, just trying to get my feet under me."

Utley downplayed any hints at a timeline, but his progress from here could be accelerated.