CLEARWATER, Fla. — Chase Utley will not be at second base when the Phillies open their Grapefruit League schedule Saturday against the Yankees. And it's possible Utley does not see game action for some time.
Earlier in the spring, Charlie Manuel said he planned to play Utley less during exhibition games to keep his chronically injured right knee fresher for the season. Of course, Manuel has made such proclamations about rest before, but this could actually be legitimate.
Typically, Manuel likes his regulars to have at least 70 at-bats in the spring. It appears as if he's willing to ease that requirement for Utley.
"It might be a little while before I play him," Manuel said. "I want him to keep doing his regular workouts. Right now, I'm in no hurry to play him as long as we can have him ready when the season starts. We just want him to feel good about where he's at with his practice and hitting."