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Chase Utley homers in first extended spring training game

Jun 4, 2012, 8:30 PM EDT

Chase Utley AP AP

Get excited, Phillies fans. Chase Utley played in a baseball game this afternoon.

According to John Finger of, Utley went 3-for-4 with a homer and a double while serving as the designated hitter in an extended spring training game.

While it was an encouraging first step, it’s not clear when Utley will be ready to test his left knee by playing the field. With that in mind, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was asked about whether the team has considered playing him at first base in order to put less stress on his knees. He didn’t completely dismiss the possibility.

“He’s played first base. He’s OK at first base,” Manuel said. “He hasn’t played there enough to say he’s a bona fide first baseman and stuff. I mean, there’s still footwork and stuff around the bag that he would need to improve on.

“I think it’s something before we go a long ways about it, we need to sit down and talk to him and see how he feels about it.”

Obviously Utley would have a big say on whether a position change would happen and the big variable in the equation is when Ryan Howard will be ready to return from Achilles’ tendon surgery. But it’s an interesting possibility to monitor.

  1. jimw81 - Jun 4, 2012 at 8:42 PM


  2. juv3rd11 - Jun 4, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    he’s done…only a matter of time till the affects of this injury start….

  3. randygnyc - Jun 4, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    He’s got real future job security playing 1st base for the phillies. That’s beside the underlying truth that by the time he gets back to the bigs and becomes proficient at the new position, Howard should be making his comeback. This is assuming that Utley can remain healthy, which given the circumstances, remains highly unlikely.

    • skerney - Jun 5, 2012 at 5:37 AM

      What do you do with the $100 million dollar first baseman?

  4. chasemutley - Jun 4, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    That was just brilliant writing, Randy. That ‘Word-A-Day’ toilet paper is paying off.

  5. jeffhink - Jun 4, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    If they want a long-term position change that can reduce wear on Utley’s knees, they should try him in left field. Freddy Galvis has shown that his defense at 2B makes up for his sub-par hitting, and the addition of Utley (and Howard) to the lineup would be sufficient to allow a low-average bat like Galvis to play every day.

    • mJankiewicz - Jun 5, 2012 at 8:50 AM

      My thoughts exactly.

  6. mungman69 - Jun 5, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    Utley won’t hold up except as a DH. Trade him.

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