Tag:Chase Utley
Posted on: September 9, 2011 11:35 am
Edited on: September 9, 2011 1:46 pm
 

Concussed Utley likely out for additional week

UtleyBy Evan Brunell

The Phillies' Chase Utley, who suffered a concussion on Wednesday, will be out longer than anticipated.

“He’s going to be re-examined on Saturday,” GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told CSNPhilly.com. “If the test goes well, he could go ahead and meet the team in Houston on Monday. But I don’t expect him to play the next two series just so we can be cautious. That’s my guess.”

This means that Utley likely  will not play for the remainder of Philadephia's road trip, which stretches until next Wednesday, Sept. 14, before hosting the Marlins in a Thursday doubleheader. The team then welcomes St. Louis for a four-game weekend series, the apparent target series for Utley's return. The Phillies can afford to be cautions with a postseason spot secure (as well as a division title), so it's a no-brainer to keep Utley out of action until he can return 100 percent from the concussion, suffered by being hit in the back of the head on a pitch.

“It’s very mild, we think it’s very slight, but it’s a concussion nonetheless,” Amaro said. “Chase is already feeling better. He’s getting some rest. We’ll know more Saturday.”

One of the more underrated players the last few years, the 32-year-old is experiencing his worst season since 2004, the year prior to becoming a full-time player. He's batting .262/.344/.461 in 393 plate appearances with 36 extra-base hits. Coupled with his strong defense, he's still one of the better second basemen in the game.

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 1:55 am
 

Utley to miss time after being hit in head

Chase UtleyBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley did not join the team's flight to Milwaukee and will miss at least Thursday's game against the Brewers, if not more, after being hit in the head by a Eric O'Flaherty pitch in the sixth inning of the Phillies' 3-2 victory over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

Utley stayed in the game, but was pulled after he complained of a headache in the seventh inning. Utley was expected to see the team's doctor and a concussion specialist after the game. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters Utley would undergo concussion exams on Friday.

"As I told Chase, we're not going to mess with the heart and we're not going to mess with the head," Amaro said (CSNPhilly.com). "When you get a 90-mph fastball off the melon, you have to be cautious about it. he's going to be out at least a couple of days."

As a result, Amaro said the team would activate shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the disabled list "for emergency purposes." Rollins has been on the DL since Aug. 21 with a strained groin.

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Posted on: August 18, 2011 10:06 am
 

Pepper: Down to two races?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

With just more than a month to go, we're down to just two races in baseball -- the National League West and the American League Central.

The rest? Done. Decided.

The National League East? The Phillies lead the Braves by 8 1/2 games. Done.

The National League Central? The Brewers are up on the Cardinals by seven, winning 19 of their last 21 and watching as the Cardinals take another September siesta. Done.

The National League wild card? It's the Braves to not just lose, but to give away in spectacular Cubian fashion. That's not happening. Done.

The American League East? Boston trails by a half-game, so the division is up in the air, but with Boston leading the Wild Card by eight games, both teams are playing in October, all that's left is figuring out seeding, the important stuff? Done.

The American League West? Texas has won its last six, including the last three in Anaheim against the Angels. Done.

At least we have the NL West and the AL Central -- those will at least be interesting for a while.

Looking back at last year at the same time, the Braves led the Phillies in the NL East, but both ended up in the playoffs. In the AL East, The Yankees and Rays were deadlocked atop the division, but again, both went to the playoffs. Sound familiar?

Minnesota had a four-game lead over the White Sox in the AL Central, a lead they'd hold, while the Rangers were running away from the Angels with an eight-game lead. Deja vu.

As for the NL Central? Cincinnati was leading the Cardinals by just two games, but St. Louis would fade down the stretch. And in the NL West, the Giants trailed the surprising Padres by five games.

Basically, it looks like we've seen this all before. But you know what? It was pretty fun to watch last year and it will be again this year.

Brewers confident: After Tuesday's win, Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan said the team has to "try to catch Philly," according to the Associated Press. "That's our goal, since we have nobody to really chase in our division, let's go chase Philly." After Wednesday's win, Zack Greinke said, "It's definitely not locked up now, but it's on us mainly," according to the Journal Sentinel. And he added, "it is ours to lose." It is indeed.

Giants' road to repeat: The Giants have the easiest remaining schedule among contenders, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes as he breaks down the remaining schedules for the contenders (and the Cardinals, Rays and Angels). Passan also gives the Brewers more reason to be confident -- the third-easiest remaining schedule, plus the most off days and more home games than road games remaining. As for the AL Central, the Tigers have the best remaining schedule among the contenders. And not only are the Rays well behind both the Red Sox and Yankees in both the division and the wild card, they also have the toughest remaining schedule -- 10 against Boston, six against New York, six against Texas and four against Detroit.

Some people are just jerks: And online, they all have a voice. Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has proof -- sharing the emails he's gotten from people against the proposed statue of Shannon Stone and his son.

Logic may prevail: Although there were reports this weekend that Cubs general manager Jim Hendry's job was safe, but Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman says that's not so certain. What you can blow $251.5 million on Carlos Zambrano, Milton Bradley, Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome and have to worry about your job? Say it ain't so.

Five tool players: Every year I look forward to Baseball America's Tools issue -- and I got it in the mail yesterday. It's fascinating reading and also allows you to geek out about minor league players and what they could become. Over at FanGraphs, they feel the same way, but Carson Cistulli decided to find out which big leaguers have displayed five tools through the "nerdiest possible" numbers. It's great stuff. And if you didn't know, Chase Utley, Troy Tulowitzki and David Wright are good.

Speaking of tools: Former Reds and Nationals GM Jim Bowden never saw a tools-y player he didn't like. He has five players you should give up on -- starting with the Pirates' Pedro Alvarez. [ESPN.com]

CC's history lesson: Yankees starter CC Sabathia spent Tuesday morning at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, saying he drew inspiration from the visit for his start on Thursday in Minnesota. If you're ever in Kansas City, make sure you make it to the museum either before or after you go to Arthur Bryant's. [New York Times]

Tony Plush's kitty kat: Good for Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who adopted a new cat from the Wisconsin Humane Society. [Twitter]

Dim your jacket: Tuesday night the umpires working the A's-O's game had to ask two men with LED equipped clothing behind the plate to dim their wares. [Yahoo!'s Big League Stew]

Extending Ichiro?: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times makes the argument against the Mariners extending Ichiro's contract.

Passport problems: Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur will use his off day on Monday to get a new passport -- his old one expired after 10 years and he forgot about it. The Royals are scheduled to go to Toronto later that day. [Kansas City Star]

Hat flap: The National wanted to wear military hats in Tuesday's game, but Major League Baseball denied their request. Instead, the Nationals wore the hats during batting practice. The main reason? Well, ignore the jibber-jabber from MLB, it's that there was no money to be made, so they didn't want to do it. MLB told the Washington Post that it prefers to for teams to use patches or batting practice for such displays. [Washington Post's DC Sports Bog]

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Posted on: June 18, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: June 18, 2011 7:57 pm
 

Reds, Phillips haven't discussed extension

Brandon Phillips

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Reds are expected to pick up Brandon Phillips' $12 million option for next season, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes.

The team hasn't spoken to Phillips about an extension, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said, but didn't rule it out.

"He's got an option," Jocketty told Fay. "That's what options are for. We might try to get something done later."

Earlier this week, Phillips told Amy K. Nelson of ESPN that it would be "hard to keep me here," when asked about his future in Cincinnati. He added, "I'm not trying to break the bank. I'm just trying to be fair. I don't want Jayson Werth money or CC Sabathia money."

That's a little different than what Phillips has repeatedly told the Cincinnati media for the last couple of years. When speaking to Cincinnati people, he's always said he wants to stay in Cincinnati and follow in the footsteps of his boyhood idol, former Reds great Barry Larkin.

He reiterated his desire to finish his career as a Red when speaking to Fay on Saturday.

"I told the Reds and the whole world this is where I want to be," Phillips said. "If it doesn't happen, I'm going to be very, very disappointed. I feel like I've made this a second home. I bought a house here. This is where I want to be, man. The fans just took me in. I feel like I need to stay here and give back.

"Hopefully, it happens. If it doesn't happen this year, I feel in my head and my heart, it's not going to happen."

Phillips has not only made himself a fan favorite through his use of Twitter, but has also donated enough money to help rebuild a local youth baseball field through the Reds Community Fund. He's backed his talk up with actions off the field, to be sure.

Atlanta signed second baseman Dan Uggla to a five-year, $62 million deal this past offseason. Uggla has more power than Phillips, but Phillips is a better all-around player. Philips won his second Gold Glove last season and has been even better defensively this year. His batting average and on-base percentage are about the same as they were a year ago -- and better than his career averages -- but his slugging percentage has taken a dip, as he's hitting .280/.338/.387 this season with five home runs. He hit 30 homers in 2007 and his home run numbers have dropped each season since. 

Phillips will be 30 later this month, so any extension will take that into consideration.

Last year the Reds showed they are willing to pick up a questionable high-priced option when they picked up Bronson Arroyo's $11.5 million option before spinning that into a three-year, $35 million extension.

Phillips will probably be looking for something similar, although he's possibly worth more.

Uggla's contract will be one comparison, but the Reds could point to Rickie Weeks, who signed a four-year, $38.5 million extension heading into this season. Weeks has outperformed Phillips at the plate this season (although, Phillips is much, much better defensively). Phillips has also been much more durable than Weeks, who has played more than 130 games just once in his career, while Phillips has played at least 140 games in every season since coming to the Reds in 2006.

Phillips has the second-highest salary in the game for a second baseman, trailing only Chase Utley.

The Reds' payroll is at $80 million this season -- but they have Francisco Cordero's $12.125 million coming off the books after this season. The team also has raises coming to Arroyo, Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto and Jay Bruce. Votto's signed through 2013, his last season before he's eligible for free agency. He gets a $4 million raise for 2012 and $7.5 million raise to $19 million in 2013. Bruce also has an increased salary for each of the next five seasons.

Reds owner Bob Castellini has said he could afford to keep the core of his team only if the team's attendance picked up after their National League Central run of a season ago. So far this season, the Reds are averaging 24,230 fans a game at Great American Ball Park, which is actually down from last season's average of 25,438. The average should increase as school lets out for the summer, but if there's a big enough increase in attendance for Castellini to keep his word is still to be seen.

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Posted on: June 12, 2011 12:42 am
Edited on: June 12, 2011 12:43 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Moustakas cranks first homer

Moustakas

By Evan Brunell

upMike Moustakas, Royals -- The latest Royal phenom banged his first career home run in his second game up; he was hitless in two other at-bats and added a walk. The blast came on a solo shot that pulled the Royals within two of a game they would tie and go on to lose 7-5. He blasted a pitch middle-away over the right-field fence, and Angels right fielder Torii Hunter spoke to the fans and got the ball back for the rookie.

Chase Utley, Phillies -- Utley had a solo home run just like Moustakas, which brought the crowd some measure of relief. Manager Charlie Manuel said recently that he felt Utley was beginning to come out of spring-training mode and was ready to hit. Boom, home run. He was 2 for 5 with a double and four RBI all told, pushing his line to a un-Utley like .252/.341/.394. The Phillies broke open the game late against the Cubs, with Utley's two-run shot capping the 7-1 victory.

Mike Leake, Reds -- In a matchup between Tim Lincecum and Mike Leake, Lincecum will win 4 out of 5 times. Well, this was one of those other times as The Freak imploded and Leake shined against a decrepit Giants lineup by going eight strong with four hits, one walk and eight whiffs. Bad offense or not, stellar outing with 113 pitches, 72 for strikes. Leake's ERA dropped all the way to 4.06 and has earned himself some rope with a second straight strong start.

DownBrandon Morrow, Blue Jays -- Morrow had a very bad day, skittering his ERA up to 5.63 by coughing up nine earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. Yikes. He added four strikeouts against three walks and quite a few Red Sox hitters had banner days. It turned into such a rout, Toronto put backup infielder Mike McCoy into the game to pitch, where he flashed a knuckleball en route to losing 16-4.

Colby Lewis, Rangers -- Lewis lasted much shorter than Morrow, only tossing 1 1/3 innings with 52 pitches allowing six runs, two walks and a whiff. David Bush stifled the Twins offense for 4 2/3 innings before leaving with an injury and was a laugher the entire game. That's two straight bad showings for Lewis. Is he slumping or is something else going on?

Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks -- Johnson deserves credit for punching in three runs on a double, but he did whiff in the four other at-bats. While striking out is really not any worse than grounding out, that many K's gets your attention. Johnson's hitting a moribund .221/.294/.442 and is trying to find the stroke that fueled his 26-homer season last year. He's been pulling out if it lately and has really been turning on the power but his batting average has gone backwards as of late. A couple lucky breaks, and things could be looking different.

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Posted on: May 31, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 3:49 pm
 

NL All-Star balloting update: Cards lead way



By Matt Snyder


Major League Baseball has issued a press release with the first All-Star balloting update of the season, and the NL starting lineup would include three Cardinals if the voting ended right now. The leaders by position (including three outfielders, of course): Albert Pujols, Brandon Phillips, Placido Polanco, Troy Tulowitzki, Buster Posey, Ryan Braun, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman. (Full ballot update at MLB.com)

A few things immediately jump out:

- Jose Reyes is the most qualified candidate at shortstop, despite Tulowitzki's hot start. Reyes leads the NL in hits, doubles, triples and stolen bases and is hitting .335 with an .876 OPS. He doesn't even have half the votes Tulo does. Oh, and Jimmy Rollins (.265 with a .698 OPS) is second. At least Reyes is in third, but it's odd to see a player in New York so under-represented in the voting.

- The starter at first base has gotta be Joey Votto over Pujols. It's not even close this season. Votto is second, trailing by about 182,000 votes. Prince Fielder (third) and Ryan Howard (fourth) should also be ahead of Pujols. Remember, it's for the 2011 season.

- Speaking of which, Chase Utley is third in voting at second base.

- Dodgers outfielders Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp have very strong cases in the outfield, and they check in at spots four and five in the voting, respectively. Still, who are you going to bump between Braun, Holliday and Berkman? Maybe we can petition to move Braun to third base in order to maximize the offense?

- The biggest snub appears to be Jay Bruce. The young Reds' slugger was been an absolute man-child in May and leads the NL in home runs, RBI and total bases. He's 12th place in votes for outfielders. Looks like Reds fans need to get over to MLB.com and support their team. Phillips leads at second because there aren't many good candidates, but Votto and Bruce should be starting and aren't yet in that position.

- Obviously, Posey can't start because of his season-ending injury and NL manager Bruce Bochy will name a replacement if Posey wins the voting. So the catcher voting -- at least as long as he's at the top -- is irrelevant.

Voting continues on MLB.com through June 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET. There will be an update on AL voting Wednesday.

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Posted on: May 23, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2011 6:08 pm
 

On Deck: Stars return



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Chase UtleyUTLEY'S BACK -- The Phillies have been searching for offense and hope that Chase Utley on a (hopefully) healthy knee can provide it. Over the last nine games, the Phillies have lost six and been outscored 25-15. They're batting just .171 with nine extra-base hits and haven't scored more than three runs in any of those games. Only four National League teams have scored fewer runs than the Phillies' 176 this season, while the team is below league average in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Utley hit .281/.361/.438 in 32 at-bats at Class A Clearwater on his rehab assignment. Reds at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Josh HamiltonNelson CruzRangers RETURN -- While the Phillies are getting just one player back, the Rangers return the middle of their order with Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz coming off the disabled list. The Rangers lost three of their last four (including two to Philadelphia), while scoring just five runs in that span. Hamilton is back hitting third, and Cruz will be batting sixth. Texas was 9-1 before the April 12 game in Detroit where Hamilton broke a bone in his right arm on a headfirst slide at home. White Sox at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

Justin MastersonFAMILIAR FACE -- The Indians got right-hander Justin Masterson from Boston in the Victor Martinez trade. While Martinez is back in the AL Central, Masterson is actualizing his vast potential and helping lead the Indians to the majors' best record. Masterson is 5-2 with a 2.52 ERA (and a 3.31 xFIP). Masterson has faced his former teammates twice since being traded, going 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts against the Red Sox. He faces Clay Buchholz, who has been fantastic in May, going 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in four starts this month. Red Sox at Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)

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Posted on: May 22, 2011 11:18 am
Edited on: May 22, 2011 4:31 pm
 

Utley back in Philly, expected to play Monday

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Chase UtleyChase Utley has returned to Philadelphia, joining the team on Sunday. Utley didn't play in Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Rangers, but will play Monday against the Reds, CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler reports.

The second baseman played nine games at Class A Clearwater, hitting .281/.322/.467 in 32 at-bats, hitting a homer and stealing a base. He's expected to return to action Monday against the Reds at Citizens Bank Park. Utley is 5 for 12 in his career against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo.

MLB.com's Todd Zolecki tweets that Utley was scheduled to meet with Phillies trainer Scott Sheridan and team doctor Michael Ciccotti today before deciding an exact course of action. 

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