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Phillies to give Chase Utley limited playing time this spring

Mar 2, 2012, 12:46 PM EDT

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In an effort to keep him healthy after last season’s knee problems the Phillies are planning to limit Chase Utley‘s playing time during spring training.

Charlie Manuel told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inqurier that Utley won’t be in the lineup for the Phillies’ spring opener Saturday and “it might be a little while before I play him.”

Utley and Manuel talked previously about the plan and the second baseman is fine with the limited action, warning: “You guys might not see me on the field on a daily basis, so don’t freak out if that happens.”

Utley missed 59 games last season and also posted career-lows in batting average (.259), on-base percentage (.344), and slugging percentage (.425). Of course, career-lows for Utley are still pretty good, as his .769 OPS was significantly above the NL average for second baseman (.699).

  1. mdpickles - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    It’s popular to bash Howard because of his production/contract. However, Utley still remains the biggest concern going into the season. It is time to bat him leadoff, especially now more than ever with Howard out of the lineup for a couple of months. He never swings at first pitch strikes (ala JRoll), works counts, fouls pitches, smart baserunner. It’s a lot harder to pitch around a leadoff baserunner than pitching around a 2 out walk.

    • paperlions - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      People rip the Howard contract because he’s been the 3rd best player on the Phillies infield most of his career, but is paid by far the most (and far too much). There hasn’t been a single year in which Howard has been as valuable as Utley…one guy provides value in every aspect of the game…the only did one thing very well for a few years.

      • sasquash20 - Mar 2, 2012 at 5:49 PM

        Your retarded. Utley is invisible for a month or 2 the last 4 seasons. Howard is and was the most important bat for this Phillies squad. I watched or listened to almost every game the last 7 years and you have no clue what your talking about.

      • paperlions - Mar 2, 2012 at 6:38 PM

        Uh huh.

      • mercyflush - Mar 3, 2012 at 9:20 AM

        i agree with paperlions. Utley is by far the most valuable position player on this team, and has been for the last 5 years. The stats back that up – he’s second in the NL in WAR (behind only Pujols) for the last 5 years.

        And I like that they are playing it safe with him in the spring.

        That’s not to say Howard isnt important. Forget his contract (which I agree is terrible but what can you do?). He is their best power hitter and is important to the lineup.

  2. careyb44 - Mar 2, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    First Howard, now Utley. If the “vaunted” starting pitching fails to carry this team , they could
    end up in the NL east cellar.

    • mercyflush - Mar 3, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      I like how you put vaunted in quotes, as if the starting pitching on this team is not really that.

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