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Chase Utley takes ground balls at third base, is open to a position switch

Aug 29, 2012, 5:40 PM EDT

Chase Utley, Emilio Bonifacio

Jim Salisbury of reports that Chase Utley took ground balls at third base today “to see if it would be option down road.”

And according to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News the longtime second baseman recently “approached Ruben Amaro Jr. and asked the Phillies general manager whether he thought playing some third base in the future was realistic.”

Utley has been one of the best all-around second basemen in baseball for a decade, including what has typically been underrated defense, but at age 33 and with all kinds of knee problems a position switch could make some sense.

It would also give the Phillies more flexibility as they pursue infield targets to replace Placido Polanco, whose option for 2013 will almost surely be declined. Of course, Utley told Murphy that it was his first time taking ground balls at third base in 10 years and his arm strength has never been great even at second base, so for now it’s just an idea.

  1. illadelphiasphinest - Aug 29, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Still doesnt change the fact that we need to add some bats this offseason.

    • rickhigginshtbro - Aug 29, 2012 at 5:56 PM

      yes, but, with this, it opens up the possibility of grabbing a bat that plays second, not just solely looking for a bat that plays third.

      • dondada10 - Aug 29, 2012 at 6:59 PM

        But isn’t it easier to find a bat at third than finding one at second?

        Best case scenario is that Utley can play out his contract at the keystone.

  2. bleedgreen - Aug 29, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Unfortunately, Jimmy is here at SS for the next 2 years. This could open up a spot for Galvis on the team next year, or work in a platoon with Frandsen (if they keep him around) and Utley.

    I’m also hoping they let Darin Ruf play with the big club in Sept. He can play left field and 1st base, so he could spell Howard if needed. I’m assuming that Brown is going to be moved to RF and Scheirholtz, if kept, will play center.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 29, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      Jimmy Rollins is fine offensively for a SS. He just isn’t a lead off hitter. Galvis needs a full year at AAA. Guy needs to learn how to hit.

  3. prionogenic - Aug 29, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    What made Chase Utley such a huge asset to the Phillies was that he provided 1B or 3B-like production from the plate while playing excellent defense at 2B. That is tempered when he plays at a less physically demanding position. I wonder how his projected 2013 stats compare to the rest of the league as a 3B vs 2B.

    However, since Utley is under contract for a couple more years at $15/year, you might as well use him where he can be the most productive.

  4. illad3lph1a - Aug 29, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Utley is the man! The guy is a perfect ball player and teammate.. Kids take note

  5. GoneYickitty - Aug 29, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Utley took ground balls at third base today “to see if it would be option down road”? What? What would happen, he would go over and try to get ground balls and not be able to do it? Of course he could play 3rd.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 29, 2012 at 7:02 PM

      The issue is whether or not he has a strong enough arm to play third. That is really the only question.

      • deepstblu - Aug 29, 2012 at 9:31 PM

        The common wisdom when he came up was that he didn’t have the arm, although he appears to have played a full season at third in AAA (2002).

      • drmonkeyarmy - Aug 29, 2012 at 9:48 PM

        He committed like 28 errors there that year…mostly on throws apparently.

  6. xmatt0926x - Aug 29, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    I need to get my eyes checked. He has certainly proved me wrong so far with his knees but his arm isn’t even that great for 2nd base. He has almost a slight side armed delivery and his throws never seem to be very strong. I just can’t imagine him having to gun down the better runners in this league. I could see filling in a game here and there if they can’t find a solid full time 3rd baseman, but everyday? Then again, I guess if Wiggington can play 3rd for you than almost anyone else is a possibility.

  7. phillyphann83 - Aug 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    first…goneyikkity, you clearly do not understand the nuances of the game.
    second…I was a career second baseman for 9 years, then a new coach put me at 3rd…everything was different. The angles were different, the throws were different, the assignments were different, every facet of the game was different and it made me a different player.

    Anyone who doubts this, go look at how Cal Ripken Jr. did when he played SS.

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