Saturday, August 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Utley still shooting for opening day

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The man who might be the opening-day second baseman hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday at Bright House Field.

Utley still shooting for opening day

Chase Utley still hopes to be ready for opening day. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Chase Utley still hopes to be ready for opening day. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The man who might be the opening-day second baseman hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday at Bright House Field.

That was Freddy Galvis, the 22-year-old infielder who continues to impress manager Charlie Manuel and the entire Phillies organization.

The man who might not be the opening-day second baseman took batting practice and went through his daily workout routine, which so far has not included playing in a game.

That, of course, is Chase Utley.

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Even though Galvis was one of the stars in the Phillies' 4-3, 10-inning win over the Toronto Blue Jays, it was Utley who drew the most attention in the clubhouse afterward.

Utley, bothered by chronic tendinitis in his right knee, was asked if he still thought he could be ready for opening day April 5 in Pittsburgh.

"That's the goal," he said.

His activities since early in camp have been limited to batting practice and workouts behind closed doors that do not include taking ground balls. Utley said it was his decision to back off on taking ground balls based on the way his knee felt.

The veteran second baseman had warned at the start of camp that he would not play in the early portion of spring training, but the questions have mounted as his absence has continued. One big-league scout said he did not think it would be possible for Utley to open the season on time if he was not on the field starting next week.

Utley was asked if everything has gone according to his original spring-training plan.

After a long pause, he said, "I don't know. That's a good question.  There have been some ups and downs. There are parts that are really positive."

Utley confirmed that he has not done any infield work recently.

"Not yet," he said. "I'm making progressions to get to that point. I'd like to do that at some point next week."

Asked if he felt better or worse than he did at the beginning of camp, Utley simply answered that "today, I felt pretty good."


Bob Brookover Inquirer Columnist
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