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Chase Utley has a mild concussion

Sep 8, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

Chase Utley was hit in the head with an Eric O’Flaherty pitch in last night’s game. He stayed in, but was later pulled for a pinch hitter after complaining of a headache. Ruben Amaro said afterward that he has a “mild concussion.”

Utley was held back from joining the team on its flight to Milwaukee and will see a doctor in Philadelphia today.  The team believes that this is minor, however, and thinks that Utley could play this weekend. Obviously you don’t mess around with that kind of thing, and given the Phillies’ comfortable lead, an abundance of caution seems to be in order.

Here was the pitch, by the way. I didn’t watch the game, but I’m not aware of any bad blood or anything that would have led to this being a purpose pitch. Utley hadn’t done anything in the game except fly out a couple of times. At the time of the pitch there were two men on with two out in a tie game, so if O’Flaherty was truly trying to send some sort of message, it would have been oddly timed and unprovoked.

Obviously my view is that it is never appropriate to hit someone intentionally, so even if there was something in the past that “justified” this in O’Flaherty’s mind, it wasn’t justified in reality. But really, I can’t see anything here that would suggest he was hit intentionally. I would think the ball simply got away from O’Flaherty.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    I agree that it didn’t seem intentional. However, considering that Ryan Howard was on deck and considering that he threw sheer nastiness at Howard his entire at bat with pinpoint precision, I don’t it is out of the realm of possibility to say that he was probably going to pitch around Utley and got it a little too close and a little too high. For some people, not you Craig, but some people who have said “BLEH, THERE’S NO WAY HE WAS GOING TO LOAD THE BASES INTENTIONALLY” they are being naive to think that O’Flaherty wouldn’t rather face Mr. Lucky with the bases loaded than Utley with 1st and 3rd. Sadly, as Mr. Lucky’s biggest, I have to admit that right now, that is probably true. The big man is struggling mightily against lefties. And he also needs a couple weeks off to rest his ankle.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:05 AM

      Mr. Lucky’s biggest FAN :D

    • cur68 - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:36 AM

      Look at it this way Chris, Utley gets to rest his head and his knee now. He’ll take a week or 2 off, clear out the cobwebs, and be back in phighting phorm phor the play ophs (fingers crossed: concussions are tricky beasts, especially if you’ve had more than one). So, some good might come of it, but, on the whole, I’d rather it hadn’t happened.

      Doc needs a ring and Utley’s key to that, I do believe. I certainly didn’t want him to get beaned, and I don’t think that O’Flaherty hit his head on purpose, but I do think it was supposed to be a well inside, pitch-around-this-guy-and-face-Mr. Lucky pitch that got a way from him. I’m pimping for a best case scenario here (which is against my personal code, since I’m Mr. Doom & Gloom and hope-to-be-wrong, usually).

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:42 AM

        Yeah, thats exactly what I thought…he was pitching around him and one got away. Still, it sucks…especially if it lingers. Concussions are scary and if Utley isn’t on the field for any of the Brewers games, then it is more serious then they are letting on since this is a huge series.

  2. seanmk - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    no such thing as a “mild concussion,” head injuries are serious business. how the heck is he supposed to get on a plane after this in order to play a weekend series? I don’t think it was a purpose pitch or anything, but ricky bottalico after the game was mad the phillies didn’t retaliate. for me winning the game IS retaliation enough. All the phillies need to do is win two games against the brewers this weekend, anything more is gravy. a brewers sweep would make things interesting though for best record to get home field throughout the playoffs.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:14 AM

      yeah, this is bad news any way you look at it. Considering that Morneau still has his bell rung over a year later, there is no reason to be too optimistic about Utley..especially since he went out of the game because of headaches. This is very troubling.

      • stevejeltzjehricurl - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:16 AM

        I’m hoping that they hold Utley out for a week or more, just to make sure he’s okay. Chooch needed a few weeks last year following a concussion, didn’t he?

    • vader000 - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:21 AM

      Craig already said he’s not going on the roadtrip so that’s a non issue. Bottalico is a bit of an idiot, you don’t retaliate for something unintentional unless you’re a mouth breathing neanderthal which he constantly shows symptoms of. Can’t wait to see the Bravos continue their freefall all the way out of the wild card spot. All those young pitchers having injury problems, maybe this future dominance of the NL East isn’t as much of a sure thing as some think……

  3. Jonny 5 - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    It wasn’t an intentional hit from my point of view. It was a 91 mph missile to the noggin though, and it actually left an impression on the helmet. He was asking where it hit him too, which doesn’t sound good.

    • stevejeltzjehricurl - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:21 AM

      I doubt it was intentional. If it had been, O’Flaherty would have pegged him in the back — no one intentionally throws at someone’s head. O’Flaherty just had a pitch get away from him. The ironic thing was that Chase normally gets pegged because he stands pretty close to the plate, but this pitch almost hit him behind his ear.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:30 AM

        I doubt it was intentional too…but it did seem a little weird that his next 5 pitches to Howard were pretty sick. The first ball was probably strike 3.

    • seanmk - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:21 AM

      i was surprised how Utley didn’t move after getting hit. usually players fall after getting hit in the head. it did sort of hit “the right spot” in that the spot it hit at the top of the helmet is sort of curved and thus why the ball flew almost straight up into the air. It might have been a little deflected, and much worse if it was lower on the helmet. But i’m mearly speculating since i don’t know how utley’s head fits in his helmet.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:33 AM

        He had no idea what happened. He turned to the umpire and said, “Where did that hit me….in the head?”

  4. prionogenic - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    “I didn’t watch the game…”

    Why didn’t you watch the game, Craig?

    • seanmk - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:23 AM

      craig is sick. he mentioned taking nyquil on twitter

    • Jonny 5 - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:23 AM

      Because he lied to his Mom.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:35 AM

        Sadly, Craig’s poor son and the rest of the soccer team have to suffer because of Craig’s blatant disrespect for Aquaman.

      • Jonny 5 - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:47 AM

        Aquaman has a long arm of justice.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:57 AM

        The only way for Craig to reverse the curse would be to get these for his son…ASAFP

        http://www.aquamanshrine.com/2007/01/underoos-1981.html

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 8, 2011 at 11:03 AM

        Someone get Craig’s home address…I’m buying those underoos (maybe 20 sets?) and dropping them in the mail immediately.

  5. cleverbob - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    If it was intentional, McCann wasn’t in on it. It looked like he had genuine concern for Utley’s wellbeing after he realized he was beaned.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:57 AM

      Given that McCann nearly killed his bench coach in the preseason, I’m sure he had a lot of scary thoughts immediately spring to mind.

  6. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 8, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    Despite the obvious rivalry, I’m glad to see everyone is level-headed here and can see this wasn’t intentional. As an Utley fan, I hope he’s back soon and healthy. I have no quarrel with that man. It’s that p.o.s. ump crew I hate. You know why? Because they corrected their bad call. Jerks. Beachy had a QS all sewn up, but no, Heyward trapped the ball they say (he did), but they say after calling it a catch. Bastards! Get it right the first time or go the f@ck home. Instead Beachy gets pulled and only goes 5.2, well that doesn’t jive on my fantasy team you see. Not at all. You suck blue. You suck blue balls.

    • Francisco (FC) - Sep 8, 2011 at 3:22 PM

      Despite the obvious rivalry, I’m glad to see everyone is level-headed here and can see this wasn’t intentional

      Naturally. After all, the incident in question happened between two talented and respectable and above all professional, major league baseball teams. This isn’t “The Franchise”.

  7. rjmarrella - Sep 8, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    It wasn’t intentional. While Victorino did make his way from third to the plate, the behavior of both squads was that of shock.
    Utley may have been dazed, but the phillies dugout (which I had a very good view of from my seats) did not respond in kind. There was little or no jawing. He just got plunked. Not beamed. Get well soon chase.

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