Morning report: Thanks, Chase

Chase Utley throws to first base during infield drills. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- In full midseason mode, Chase Utley was a ray of sunshine this morning as he addressed reporters for the first time this spring.

The dramatic highlights:

-- He is happy to see a bunch of players here early. "I think everyone is excited to get the season started," Utley said. "We're pretty hungry. Last year was a little disappointing. We made some good acquisitions in the offseason to make us better, so we'll see what happens. But we're going to have a lot of fun."

-- His thumb was "fine" once he returned from the disabled list.

-- He has made adjustments to his workout routine but would not divulge the secrets.

-- He has spoken to Ryne Sandberg and plans to talk to him often. "I'd be dumb not to pick his brain," Utley said.


Pick the better second baseman:

-- How much can he improve from a disappointing 2010? "I always feel like I can improve."

No doubt.