Ron Costello

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Moving Utley Could Be a Good Move

"For truth and duty it is ever the fitting time; who waits until
 circumstances completely favor his undertaking, will never accomplish anything. 
Martin Luther King

Can you think of a more feared left-handed pinch hitter than Chase Utley?

A well rested Chase Utley.

Recovering from a winter ankle sprain at the start of spring training, and with a history of bad knees — it's the perfect spot for this hit machine. A rested Chase Utley in the on deck circle will provide right handed pitchers with some worry.

It would give Sandberg a momentous tool akin to the invention of the rake. And it will give plenty of opposing pitching coaches some needed exercise — fast-walking to the mound to offer advice, while Utley discards the donut, arches his back, and walks slowly to the plate.

"Walk him if you have to."

"But that will force in a run."

"You hear what I'm telling you?"

"Alright, dammit............."!

It could extend Utley's career. Let's face it, at 36, 37 in December, Chase's full time future role at second base is limited. Anywhere. Pinch  hitting extended Dave Philly's career, as well as the those of Matt Stairs and Greg Gross.

Moreover, it will give Sandberg a place to put Odubel Herrera — a spot where he belongs: Second base. Herrera is the real deal and put in the second hole behind Ben Revere in the order, would give the Phillies lots of speed at the top.

Thus, saving more merry-go-round moves. Not familiar with that? Check moving Ruf to the outfield, then back to first, Brown to right, then left, Franco to first, and most likely back to third, and ex-Phillie Kyle Kendrick from the bullpen to starter so many times it had to boggle his mind, let alone his confidence.

Need I go on?

It would free up Utley to help hitters like Brown, Franco, Ashe, Galvis, Herrera, and Ruf. And you know as well as I do, Utley has a future either as a hitting coach or manager.

But I'm thinking out of the box here, something Junior and company aren't use to doing.

And there's something else.

Article in today's New York Times about rookie pitcher Noah Synderguard grabbing a bite in the clubhouse during a spring training game. Enter team leader David Wright and veteran pitcher Bobby Parnell.

Wright told Synderguard to get his butt back to the dugout, while Parnell dumped his cuisine in the garbage — before he got up to go.

Would that happen in the Bright House Field clubhouse with a Phillies rookie pitcher and Utley? Maybe Utley and Papelbon? Utley and Howard?

Don't know.

But I do know this: If the '15 Phillies have a shot, Utley not only has to be comfortable and hit, but lead as well — the '15 version of Darren Dalton. And the best chance for that is when he's feeling good.

Them's mighty big shoes to fill!
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Note: Don't often have a chance to send out my Phillies blog during the week, but Philly is getting pounded with 5 to 8 inches and record cold weather tonight. Drexel closed today at noon!

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