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Phillies All-Star second baseman Chase Utley is expected to return from his ankle injury this month.

Cubs considering Chase for Utley

SHARE Cubs considering Chase for Utley
SHARE Cubs considering Chase for Utley

MILWAUKEE – The Cubs aren’t done looking for players to help down the stretch, and sources say one of the players they’ve discussed internally as a potential August waiver-period target is Phillies second baseman Chase Utley.

That would have to involve cash going to the Cubs to offset the $5 million or so that would be left on Utley’s contract, a source confirmed. Either way, it looks like a long shot at this point, if only because of all the variables in play.

At least two other teams are said to have interest in Utley, according to reports, including the Los Angeles Angels. He has full no-trade rights, but it’s been reported he might waive them for a chance to play for a contender.

After acquiring starting pitcher Dan Haren and reliever Tommy Hunter Friday, team president suggested the possibility of continuing to pursue hitting help.

“That might be more of an August thing for us,” he said. “If the need is there and the opportunity presents itself, we’re always open to a position player.”

After Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline, teams can make trades in August through the waiver process (a team granted its claim on a waived player gets a narrow window to make a deal before the other team must decide whether to pull the player back from waivers). Any player who clears waivers can be traded freely; any player pulled back is ineligible to be traded during the period.

Utley, 36, is on the disabled list because of an ankle injury he had played through until late June and that has been blamed for his .179 half-season. He reportedly is close to starting a “brief” minor-league rehab assignment, during which teams can evaluate his fitness and skills for themselves.

An upside to his six weeks on the disabled list for any potential suitor is that the six-time All-Star isn’t likely to reach the 500 plate appearances required to trigger his vesting contract option for 2016 ($15 million).

An Utley move would obviously signal a middle-infield shuffle for the Cubs that could be coming regardless, if shortstop Starlin Castro continues to slump.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon on Saturday touted the potential for AAA shortstop Javy Baez to have an impact for the Cubs down the stretch.

As for adding anyone from the outside this month, Maddon wasn’t counting on anything.

“Of course it can [happen], but I don’t expect anything,” Maddon said. “We got the pitchers we were looking for. Of course they can do something, but conversationally this is pretty much what we have talked about.”

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