Monday, November 30, 2015

Who's on third? Not Utley

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. shuts down the Utley third base experiment.

Who's on third? Not Utley

Chase Utley will not be moving to third base. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Chase Utley will not be moving to third base. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

On, Wednesday, August 29, Chase Utley quietly went out to take ground balls at third base. When word spread like wildfire later that day, everyone downplayed it.

Utley, however, continued to practice at the position. But after a month and about a half dozen pregame sessions at third, the experiment has been put to rest.

On Friday, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Utley wouldn't play third in any of the six games that remained on the 2012 schedule, and that he likely wouldn't take any more ground balls there, either.

“It's kind of on hold now, I guess,” Amaro said.  “After having thought about it a lot, I think he's made progress at third base. I don't know if it's a matter whether or not he can do it. I think it's more a matter of practicality and what's really best for the team overall.

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 “While having that option would be helpful, I don't know if it's really an option that's going to make us necessarily better. Freddy (Galvis) could play third. We could try to find somebody from the outside to play third. (Kevin) Frandsen could play third. We still have some options.”

Although it's unlikely, Amaro did say playing Utley at third base was "not dead."

So why not give Utley a try in one of the final six games?

"He was doing very well over there," Amaro said. "In retrospect, it would be difficult to make a real assessment in six games, to watch this guy play and say, 'OK, we know Chase Utley is going to be an average defender and better for our team.' That's a very difficult thing to be able to assess."

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