For the past three months, the Phillies have ardently avoided a timetable on second baseman Chase Utley's return to the lineup, but a deadline has now been set.

Utley will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Clearwater on Tuesday, starting the clock on a 20-day cap the team can wait before he must be activated on the big-league roster.

Major League Baseball rules require teams to activate players on a rehab assignment after no more than 20 days, meaning Utley would be back in the lineup by July 2 at the latest, barring any setbacks. Of course, Utley could be back even sooner than that.