Chase Utley repeatedly said that the "knee problem" that first base coach Davey Lopes referenced in an interview posted on a web site earlier today is nothing more than a case of day-to-day soreness that most baseball players will experience over the course of a 162-game season.
"I actually feel good," Utley said. "I think there was a little confusion. . ."
Utley's health has been a focal point for fans, opposing scouts and media members looking to explain why the slumping second baseman enters today hitting just .256, the lowest average this late into any of his six seasons as an everyday player. The speculation is fueled by the fact that Utley is notoriously unrevealing with the media about all matters, particularly his health. Two years ago, both he and the club routinely downplayed a hip injury that ultimately required serious surgery in the offseason. Last year, Utley was hampered by a bruised foot, but neither he nor the club every detailed how it affected his play. In 2007, he missed time with a broken hand that occurred when he was hit with a pitch.
Still, both he and the club insist that, this time, they are sincere when they say that his health is no better or worse than anybody else's on the club.
Utley said he "doesn't see a correlation" between any physical soreness he may be experiencing and his struggles at the plate, which have seen him go 15-for-86 with no home runs and three extra base hits in his last 24 games.
"In my opinion, an injury is something that keeps you off the field," he said.
Asked if he considered his hip problem two years ago, which did not cause him to miss any time, an injury, Utley responded, "Once we had it evaluated, yeah."
In an interview with the web site BaseballProspectus.com, first base coach Davey Lopes seemed to imply that Utley was not reaching base as much as he has in his past because of a problem with his knee.
"Chase has had some problems with his knee, and Jayson has had a horrendous slump for the last month or so," the Phillies' first base coach said in an interview at BaseballProspectus.com "Sdoesn't need ano I think that once they just get back to hitting, and back to winning—these things help us win. When you get on base and the opposition presents you with an opportunity to steal a base—if we don’t capitalize, we’re only defeating what we’re built around."
Amaro said that he "believes" that Utley is listed on the team's internal injury report.
"But we probably have 20, 25 guys who are on there," Amaro said.
Could Utley use some extra days off?
"He doesn't want them," Amaro said. "He doesn't need them."