Chase Utley is in town for a few days to participate in a variety of Phillies charity and community events. In between, he met with a small group of the beat writers for an informal chat session. Look for a story in Tuesday's Inquirer about how this has been a drastically different off-season for Utley.
For now, here is a sampling of the Q&A he held today at Citizens Bank Park...
What were your thoughts on the Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee trades?
Halladay is one of the best pitchers in baseball. I’ve heard a lot of good things about him. He’s a workhorse.
I had a good time playing behind Cliff. Obviously, he pitched outstanding. He did a wonderful job for us. Hopefully at some point I get to play with him again. But it’s a business. We all realize every year there are new faces in the clubhouse, no matter what. It’s part of the game.
Anytime you could get the two best pitchers in baseball on your team, you would want that. But I trust what the front office does. They’ve done, in my opinion, a very good job.
It has to be tempting to think about having both of them in the same rotation?
Not even for five minutes?
Maybe five minutes.
Are you at the point in your career where it might be beneficial to take a few days off here and there?
It might be beneficial on occasion. But it’s difficult. We all want to be out there every single day, no matter if you’re feeling good or bad. Before I gave Charlie a hard time when he wanted to give me a day off. Now I might not give him as hard a time. We’ll see. We’ll see how it plays out.
Is there anything you can do to keep yourself more well-rested?
It’s a learning process, trying to figure stuff out that works for you. Last year I did a lot of stuff for my hip to keep it strong and loose. I might be a little more active in the weight room.
What are your thoughts on Placido Polanco coming back?
I think Polly is a professional hitter. He gives you good at-bats. He puts the ball in play; he doesn’t strike out. Therefore, he will have more opportunities to get on base. He’s a smart player. He plays outstanding defense. And he’s a good guy. We were kind of platooning a few years ago. Him being the veteran guy, I guess if he really wanted to, he could have made the situation uncomfortable. But he didn’t do that at all. He was extremely helpful, helping me try to get better and telling me things that might help me out. Looking back on that, that’s pretty cool.
What does it say when he is willing to switch positions to come here?
It shows he wants to win. That’s a great quality to have. Everybody has a similar mindset in this clubhouse. Now we’ve been to two World Series and we want to get back to a third, but it’s not going to be easy. We have to start over from scratch again.
Shane Victorino said he didn't think it was possible for this team to get better from last year, but he thinks it happened. What do you think?
You never know how it’s going to pan out. But I think, on paper, we have a pretty good team — maybe slightly better than last year. We have some veteran guys in the bullpen now. Obviously, Halladay is going to be helpful. It will be nice to meet these guys and get a chance to play with them.
Do you pay a lot of attention to the off-season moves and news?
It depends. There are times when I check it out on a daily basis. But when I’m on vacation, I don’t think about it too much. I’m just here to play, like the rest of the guys on the team. I think we all have a good trust in the front office that they’re going to put the best team on the field.