Chase Utley visits 'rehab consultant'

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Chase Utley returned to Philadelphia Phillies camp Friday after visiting an undisclosed "rehab consultant" Thursday and will expand the rehab program on his knee to include some "additional exercises," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said Friday.

Neither Utley nor the Phillies have disclosed the name of the consultant. But Proefrock said the reason for the visit was simply that the consultant preferred "showing him some exercises they'd like him to try to do," rather than attempting to describe them from afar.

"He's back," Proefrock said. "And we're going to see how it goes."

Proefrock declined to say whether Utley has made any progress in his recovery from patellar tendinitis, chondromalacia and bone inflammation. But the Phillies and Utley continue to explore as many options as possible to avoid knee surgery that could sideline the second baseman for a lengthy period of time.

For now, the Phillies aren't interested in looking for help outside the organization, Proefrock said. Non-roster free agents Josh Barfield and Pete Orr and Rule 5 draft pick Michael Martinez have all received extensive playing time this spring in Utley's absence.

"They've all played very well," Proefrock said. "And they all have different characteristics that I think could fit well, depending upon what circumstances we end up with."

Asked if the Phillies could have interest in Luis Castillo, who was released Friday by the New York Mets, Proefrock replied: "That remains to be seen."

The Phillies have discussed unsigned free agent David Eckstein, sources told ESPN.com, but they prefer their internal options because they're more versatile than Eckstein and because they expect to get Utley back at some point.

Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.