The sun is back out in Clearwater this morning after a mostly-overcast day yesterday. There are several intriguing elements to today's game against the Blue Jays, starting with Chase Utley's presence in the line-up. This is the first time the veteran second baseman will play in back-to-back Grapefruit League games. He is also scheduled to accompany the team on its two-day road trip to Jupiter tonight, so he should see some considerable action this week.
Utley looked very good yesterday against the Reds. Though he did not get a hit, he made a diving attempt at a base hit up the middle early in the game, and later went first-to-third on a double by Eric Bruntlett. Apparently, his surgically-repaired him showed no ill-effects this morning, because he is again in the line-up and again leading off.
Moving on, lefthander J.A. Happ will make his fifth appearance today. He could throw as many as 70 pitches, his most significant action to date. The young lefty has been very good all spring training, but he hasn't been any more impressive than righthander Chan Ho Park. So it is very tough to handicap the race for No. 5 at this point. Happ has already faced the Blue Jays once this spring, so this could be a chance for him to prove that he can have success against hitters who are familiar with him.