Utley confident in comeback
"I feel pretty damn good right now."
Chase Utley was as expressive as the stoic, traditionally quiet second baseman can get. His press conference today revealed a healthier Utley than had been the case in recent years, claiming he stuck to a consistent training regiment, starting as soon as the season came to a premature end.
"I'm feeling really well right now," he said. "It was a very productive offseason. As you guys know, I changed a few things up this offseason, I essentially didn’t stop playing baseball. I think that really helped. I started taking ground balls a week or so after the season ended and went through that whole program until now. So far so good."
Utley cited a workout program at the University of San Francisco, where the coaching staff made themselves available to his every whim, hitting him grounders and throwing batting practice as he required it. They key, he says, was making adjustments.
"I wanted to change it up. The program I followed last year didn’t work for me so I needed to make adjustments to get on the field," Utley explained.
"Obviously, I started slow as far as my training in the weight room went and I made progressions I haven’t made in 3-4 years. Essentially I wanted to make my knees stronger. One thing I did a little different was distribute my weight a little different in my body. I wanted less weight on my legs and more on my upper body."
"I realized I was feeling good once I came back and I wanted to keep it that way. I wanted to keep doing the things I was doing and I wanted to build on them."
The current Phillies have been questioned as far as their age and effectiveness, but Utley maintained optimism and confidence similar to Ryan Howard's earlier in the week.
"This is a new year and I'm extremely excited. It’s a new group of guys, new faces, and a new year. I think we have the talent to do it. Age is just a number; it’s about how you treat your body and how you take care of it."
Utley had plenty to say about his new teammates as well.
"I just watched [Ben Revere] track down fly balls in center field, and he's pretty impressive. He's a tremendous athlete. Michael Young at third base - he's a professional, he's a true gamer."
"I know I have a lot more baseball left in me. We put a good program together and things are looking good."
It's a feeling of confidence Utley has had since around Christmas, when he says he sent Charlie Manuel a holiday text message.
"I told Charlie if he behaves himself, maybe Santa will bring him a healthy second baseman."