Tag:Chase Utley
Posted on: March 14, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 5:43 pm
 

Amaro: trade rumors are 'b.s.'

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ruben AmaroThe Phillies may have some questions about Chase Utley's health, the team's third baseman and the interim right fielder until Domonic Brown is ready to return, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. says the team won't do anything because there's no room in the budget.

"I have no money to play with," Amaro told Jim Duquette on MLB Network radio (via the Philadelphia Daily News). "Our payroll is going to be over $160 million or so and I'm tapped out, my friend. Maxed out."

He said trades were out of the question, too.

"And those rumors you're hearing about third basemen and acquiring [a] second baseman and third baseman?" Amaro said. "All b.s., my friend. Just so you know."

Of course, Daily News beat writer David Murphy notes Amaro made the same calls of payroll inflexibility at last year's trade deadline when Philadelphia traded for Roy Oswalt and took on approximately $11 million over two seasons. He also cried poor this offseason and was able to squeeze out $120 million over five seasons for Cliff Lee.

The team could clear some space by moving Joe Blanton, who Amaro has said isn't going to be traded.

So, anyway, get ready for that big Phillies trade, because the storm winds are a blowin'.

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 9:59 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 10:01 pm
 

Getting to know the Phillies

By Evan Brunell

MVP

HowardWith Jayson Werth gone and Chase Utley injured, the focus is that much brighter on Ryan Howard.

Howard, who has yet to even start his crazy five-year, $125 million contract (that kicks in for 2012) is entering his age-31 season coming off his worst season in the majors to date. Sure, 31 home runs and an .859 OPS is pretty awesome for most players, but Howard's usually good for over 40 home runs a year and the Phillies absolutely need him to return to being a force in the middle of the order. Otherwise, the offense could be the Achilles heel of the club. If Howard can't return to previous levels, not only will the Phillies be stuck with one of the worst contracts in the game (really, who gives a bulky first baseman $125 million two years before they have to that kicks in at age 32?) but the offense might be poor enough without Utley to make the NL East a race to watch between the Braves and Phillies.

PLAYER ORACLE -- From the 17-81 Quakers back in 1883 to present day...

  • Emil Gross played with Bill Gallagher for the 1883 Philadelphia Quakers  
  • Bill Gallagher played with Tom Daly for the 1884 Philadelphia Keystones  
  • Tom Daly played with Nick Altrock for the 1903 Chicago White Sox
  • Nick Altrock played with Ossie Bluege for the 1924 Washington Senators
  • Ossie Bluege played with Early Wynn for the 1939 Washington Senators
  • Early Wynn played with Tommy John for the 1963 Cleveland Indians
  • Tommy John played with Tony Phillips for the 1985 Oakland Athletics
  • Tony Phillips played with Roy Halladay for the 1998 Toronto Blue Jays

POP CULTURE

In the hilarious comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, airing on FX, Mac penned a love letter to Chase Utley back in 2009, in the way only Mac can write it. The video is below. (Note that one swear word appears in the video.) Utley would later appear on the show along with Ryan Howard on Dec. 3. You can view more information on that episode here

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 9, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2011 3:58 pm
 

Who could replace Chase Utley?

By Evan Brunell

ValdezThe injury to Chase Utley is certainly damaging. After all, when part of the solution includes Placido Polanco occupying the Nos. 3 or 5 spot in the lineup, you know something's gone very wrong for Philadelphia.

Already tasked with replacing Jayson Werth in the lineup, the Phillies now have to worry about Chase Utley, who is unlikely to start the season as second baseman and could be out for over a month. Surgery is also a possibility. As a result, the Phillies now have to worry about finding a second baseman to replace Utley.

Internally, the choice is clear: Wilson Valdez (pictured). The 32-year-old garnered 363 plate appearances for Philadelphia last season largely thanks to injuries to Jimmy Rollins. He hit .258/.306/.360, which is far from a surprise as he has shown no aptitude to hit. In fact, 2010 was the first time he had significant time in the majors after stints in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009 with other clubs. He does boast a solid glove and could be an adequate replacement for Utley for a few weeks.

But if Valdez reaches 300 PA again, the Phillies really will be in trouble. He's simply not a viable long-term replacement, but Philly isn't prepared to look for those solutions just yet. Instead, the club will likely go after another utility infielder to pair with Valdez in being Utley's replacement as CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reports. This would allow for greater flexibility upon Utley's return.

It's this flexibility and uncertainty surrounding Utley's injury that make an acquisition of a starter like Michael Young unlikely, especially given the Phillies have a very expensive ballclub that can't sustain adding three years and $48 million of Young to. The Rangers have shown no indication that they are willing to eat a large portion of the deal, either. A similar issue confronts the Phillies on going after the Mariners' Chone Figgins as well.

Related
That leaves names such as Ramon Santiago, as Knobler suggests. Santiago is in the final year of a two-year, $2.5 million deal and is a capable backup at second and short. He hit .263/.337/.325 in 367 PA and his power has declined sharply over the last two years.

Other options that could fit as a utility player include signing the face of scrappy ballplayers everywhere in David Eckstein or trading for Felipe Lopez. Lopez is currently battling for a backup job in Tampa Bay along with Elliot Johnson. Heck, the Phillies could go after Luis Castillo after the Mets release him, as is expected. Castillo may sound like an odd choice, but all indications are he can still handle the position defensively and would bring a better bat than Valdez to the plate as he can still get on base at a good clip. Helping matters is Castillo would sign for the league minimum after being released, so Philly could cut Castillo without reservations once Utley gets back.

Jeff Keppinger of the Astros was perhaps the best fit as he appears to be the odd man out in Houston, but is sidelined himself for six weeks. If he comes back healthy and Utley is still out for an undetermined time or one-to-two months, Keppinger would be a great fit. He is a tweener type -- best utilized as a great backup on a championship-caliber club but capable of starting in case of injury or on a second-division club.

One thing in Philadelphia's favor is the ability of Placido Polanco to play second base, freeing up the Phillies to go after a third baseman if needed. They'll need that flexibility, as the Padres are chasing a backup as well, MLB.com's Corey Brock reveals. The Padres are concerned about shortstop Jason Bartlett's durability.

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Posted on: March 9, 2011 9:35 am
Edited on: March 9, 2011 11:29 am
 

Phillies issue statement on Utley's knee woes

By Matt Snyder

As star second baseman Chase Utley's knee injury lingers deeper into spring training than anyone previously expected -- or at least let the public know leading into camp -- the Phillies have issued a statement through their team doctor. Here is it, in a handy little block-quote:
"Chase has had mild patellar tendinitis and chondromalacia in the past that have previously resolved quickly. His symptoms returned during his off-season workouts, and he developed some anterior knee pain consistent with his prior history. When he reported to spring training this year, his knee was treated as it had been in the past, however his symptoms continued. An MRI was obtained that demonstrated his prior tendinitis, chondromalacia, and bone inflammation. His chondromalacia symptoms persisted in spite of focused non-operative care, including a cortisone injection. A subsequent cartilage-specific MRI was obtained confirming the initial diagnosis. Continued non-operative treatment is being carried out and additional opinions will be obtained."
Note the key words there toward the end, which are "additional opinions." Without jumping to conclusions too early, it's not a stretch to see this heading down a path no one yet wants to talk about -- one involving a surgery.

To reiterate, though, we aren't there yet. The above statement is as far as the Phillies or Utley have definitively stated anything. There's still time for everything to clear up and Utley to work his way back onto the field without having to go under the dreaded knife.

UPDATE: Utley spoke with reporters Wednesday morning (MLBlogs ). A few interesting tidbits:

- Surgery is a last resort, as Utley is "trying to exhaust every avenue prior to that."

- When asked if he anticipated being able to play in 2011, he said, "Like I said, my goal is to alleviate this as quickly as possible, but still keep in mind I have a career ahead of me."

- When asked why not just have the surgery, miss four to six weeks and come back, Utley said: "Well, what you said would make sense. But it's not that cut and dried."

- Utley said if the season started today, it probably wouldn't be in his "best interest to be out there."

- He noted there is "no timetable" for his return to the diamond.

 

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 8, 2011 4:21 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 5:43 pm
 

Utley's status still in limbo

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Chase UtleyOur own Danny Knobler can indeed confirm Chase Utley is indeed alive. After that, well, it's all up in the air.

Utley was in Clearwater, Fla., in uniform and took batting practice, just as he has been doing recently, but he also wasn't in the team's game against the Orioles.

As for the update on his bothersome knee?

"We should be hearing something by the end of the week," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told Knobler and other reporters.

Utley had a cortisone shot in his knee on Friday and the Phillies had said they'd likely have an announcement on Utley's status "by the end of the weekend." That's come and gone with no new news, although breathless chroniclers of the game await.

When asked if he was still optimistic, Manuel answered in the affirmative, "I'm very optimistic," he said. So there's that.

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: March 8, 2011 10:30 am
 

Phillies concerned about Utley

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Chase UtleyWhile the Phillies have a definite timetable on top prospect Domonic Brown, there's none with Chase Utley.

CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler checks in from Phillies camp in Clearwater, Fla., and says he's hearing there is "significant concern" about Utley's knee. Utley had a cortisone shot on Friday and the team still doesn't have an update on its effectiveness. Originally, the team expected to know if the shot worked "by the end of the weekend."

That timeframe has passed, and still no news.

Brown, on the other hand, had surgery today to remove the broken hamate bone in his hand. The stitches will be out in 10 days and he'll be in a removable splint for three-to-four weeks. He can be back playing in four-to-six weeks, depending on his pain tolerance.

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: March 8, 2011 11:09 am
 

Pepper: Paging Dr. Zambrano

Carlos Silva

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Either it's crazy or it makes perfect sense. And, in an upset, I'm going with the latter. 

After his second rough outing of the spring, Cubs starter Carlos Silva went to Carlos Zambrano for help.

Silva allowed 10 hits and eight runs in 2 1/3 innings on Monday, and his first instinct was to turn to his countryman.

"Right after I finished pitching, I texted Zambrano, and I was telling him, 'Man, I don't know what's going on,'" Silva told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. "What he told me in the text was, 'You just need to forget everything, go out there and pitch and do your thing. You know how to pitch, you did it before, so why can't you do it again.' It's true."

Silva was still frustrated, but he held back and punches this time, so there's progress.

It may seem crazy to go to Zambrano, but there are few people out there more uniquely suited to help Silva than his fellow Carlos. Both are from Venezuela, both have had trouble living up to high expectations and big contracts and both have had incidents with teammates in the dugout. But Zambrano has, at least in the last couple of months, shown signs of bouncing back. He's undergone anger management and worked hard just to get back into the Cub uniform. Sometimes when you're struggling, you just need to hear from someone who has been there. If anyone can find the right words for the talented Silva, it just may be Zambrano. And for now, it doesn't seem like it could hurt.

REMEMBERING CHRISTINA: The White Sox and Diamondbacks played an exhibition in Tucson on Monday to raise money on behalf of shooting victim Christina-Taylor Green.

Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan was there and passes on the moving story.

HAIRY BIRDS: Facial hair fans, it's time to celebrate -- the Orioles are relaxing their ban on the most manly of expressions, in response to Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero desires to wear goatees.

Luke Scott and Nick Markakis are taking advantage of the new rules, as well. (Baltimore Sun)

CONFUSING CONCUSSIONS: Sometimes there's a story that just grabs me and I read everything that comes along about it. For the last couple of years for me, that's been concussions in sports.

The New York Times looks at how no two concussions are alike, using the examples of Justin Morneau and Josh Beckett.

While Beckett bounced back from his concussion last week, Morneau still isn't back.

NAME GAME: Looking for some puny fantasy baseball names? The Orange County Register has you covered, if just for its several Shin-Soo Choo puns. I'm one of those people that have the same name every year since I've been playing -- Royal Disappointment. And I've yet to not live up to my name.

LONEY RETURNS: James Loney was back on the field Monday after missing two days with a swollen left knee. He didn't play in the Dodgers' game, but could return to the lineup by Wednesday, manager Don Mattingly said. (MLB.com)

UTLEY TO OF? Phillies senior adviser Dallas Green thinks it might be wise to move Chase Utley from second base to help save his knees. The Philadelphia Daily News' Paul Hagan disagrees.

GOOD IMPRESSION: If you haven't heard of the Braves' Julio Teheran yet, you will. The top pitching prospect in baseball made his first appearance in a Grapefruit League game yesterday and hit 96 in a scoreless inning of work. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

HOT TICKET: The Marlins have sold out the Diamond Club section of their new ballpark for next season. Now, that's just 379 seats, but they're high-priced seats, so it doesn't exactly hurt.

The team says the highest-priced seats are selling well. (MLB.com)

NO BUENO: The blog itsabouthtemoney.net takes up the case to former Cardinals minor league shortstop Lainer Bueno who was suspended for the first 50 games of this season for testing positive for clenbuterol.

The blog notes it's possible Bueno tested positive for the drug because it is used in livestock and its possible that he ate meat in Venezuela that contained clenbuterol.

HALL OF FAME DEBATE: Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson is once again on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot. He's been on the ballot since 2007.

An All-American wide receiver at Michigan State, he led the Big Ten in receiving in league play and led the team to a co-championship in 1978. Gibson only played one season of baseball at Michigan State and was drafted in the first round of the baseball draft and seventh round of the NFL draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

SPEAKING OF TWO-SPORT STARS: Former Hazelton (Penn.) High quarterback Joe Maddon invited Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris and two assistants to be his guests at the Rays' camp today.

Maddon said he'd like a chance to run the Bucs' scout team in practice. (St. Petersburg Times)

NG TO MLB: Dodgers vice president Kim Ng is reportedly leaving the team to join the home office of Major League Baseball under new vice president Joe Torre. (Los Angeles Times)

DEMOCRATIC CONCESSIONS: CNBC.com's Darren Rovell is asking readers to vote on the next great ballpark food and dessert -- and the winner from each category will be served at historic Grayson Stadium in Savannah, Ga., home of the Mets' Class A South Atlantic League affiliate, the Savannah Sand Gnats.

STATS TO GO: Baseball-Reference.com has beefed up its mobile site for use on your smart phone, so when you're not at home and you just have to know what George Brett's career slugging percentage is (.487), you know have hope.

SEVEN-MAN ROTATION: The Softbank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League are considering a seven-man rotation for this season. (YakyuBaka.com)


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Posted on: March 6, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: March 6, 2011 11:35 am
 

Pepper: Phillie concern

Domonic Brown

By C. Trent Rosecrans

After nothing but (deserved) rave reviews this offseason, reality is hitting the Philadelphia Phillies.

Still the favorite in the National League East, the same problem that kept them in a division race last season is popping up again -- injuries.

Chase Utley is already getting cortisone shots and, as our own Danny Knobler wrote it perfectly, if the Phillies are concerned -- and they're saying they're concerned -- it's not a good sign.

And now Domonic Brown is out with a broken hamate bone in his hand. Although Brown was struggling this spring -- hitless in 15 at-bats -- and was likely headed to Triple-A, he was still part of the team's plans for 2011.

The hamate injury is a tricky one -- he'll likely be able to play this season, but he won't be the same. Last year when I was around the Reds a bit, I talked to two players who were in different stages of the same injury. One, Yonder Alonso, suffered the injury in 2009, the other, Chris Dickerson, had the surgery during last season.

Dickerson was able to return and even played with the Reds and Brewers after the surgery. Alonso had the surgery in June of 2009 and was back that season, as well. However, the injury saps power. Alonso told me several times that the ball just didn't jump off his bat the same, what would be a double in the past wasn't getting past outfielders, and what was a homer in the past just died in the outfield. As doctors told him, about a year fate the surgery, his power was back. 

Brown can return this season, but don't expect him to be the same player he has shown to be in the minor leagues and that he'll be in the future.

The Phillies are counting on Ben Francisco and Ross Gload to fill in for Jayson Werth until Brown is ready. Now they'll be counting on those two longer.

Pitching won't be a problem for Philadelphia, and it wasn't the problem last year. When the team got in trouble, it was injuries and offense. With uncertainly to the health of Utley and then general uncertainty with Jimmy Rollins, there's cause for concern in Philly.

That said, they're still the favorites, but maybe not quite the prohibitive favorites they were before.

STAYING PAT: The Yankees appear to be happy with the starters they have in camp -- CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova.

Brian Cashman tells the Boston Globe the team is unlikely to trade for a starter before opening day.

"Can't rule it out, but it's highly unlikely," Cashman said. "Normally anything of quality doesn't become available until after the June draft. That's why you try and get as much as you can get accomplished in winter."

HOT DOG RUN: Apparently because the team mom forgot the orange slices, after his stint in Saturday's game, Boston's Dustin Pedroia ducked out of the Red Sox clubhouse to the concession stand for three hot dogs.

"They probably didn't think he was a player," Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters, including the Providence Journal. "Did you see that outfit he had on? He looks like he's going into second grade."

NATS OPTIMISM: A scout tells Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman (via Twitter) that Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is "back." He's throwing 94-95 mph with a "superb" slider. Said the scout, "if they had [Stephen] Strasburg, they'd be dangerous."

The Nats don't, but Zimmermann offers hope for 2012, as he had Tommy John surgery in August of 2009, a year before Strasburg. 

AMBASSADOR GRIFFEY: Ken Griffey Jr.'s new job with the Mariners is to be an ambassador of sort, but before he does that, he served the same role for the U.S. State Department in the Philippines. 

Griffey just returned from working with coaches and youth players in the Philippines. 

USA Today's Paul White caught up with him last week before his trip. Griffey still refuses to talk about his exit from the game, but he'll likely be seen around the Mariners some this season. His new job requires about a month's worth of work with the team, doing a little bit of everything.

More importantly, he's being a dad. His daughter Taryn recently led Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School to the Florida girls basketball championship. Taryn Griffey, a freshman point guard, had 21 points in the championship game.

His son, Trey, is a junior safety and wide receiver who is being recruited, as well.

PIAZZA NOT BUYING Mets: Mike Piazza tells the New York Post he's interested in buying part of a baseball team "someday" but not now.

"I think everything is timing," Piazza said. "It's an interesting time in the game. There's a lot of change going on … but as far as anything on the forefront, there's nothing. Let's just say I talked to some people that are interested in getting into the game … It doesn't cost anything to talk. At least not yet."

NO PANIC FOR Braves: Atlanta's 23-year-old Craig Kimbrel has the inside track to replace Billy Wagner as the Braves' closer, but he's not been very good so far this spring. He's struggled with his command and has allowed four runs and six hits in three appearances this spring.

"If there is a trend like this later in the spring, then you start worrying about it," manager Fredi Gonzalez tells MLB.com. "But not right now."

CAIN FEELS BETTER: Giants pitcher Matt Cain played catch for about eight minutes on Saturday and felt no pain in his right elbow.

Cain was scratched from his last start and won't make his scheduled start on Tuesday, either. (MLB.com)

PIONEER LAID TO REST: About 500 people reportedly attended the funeral of Wally Yonamine in Hawaii on Saturday, according to Sanspo (via YakyuBaka.com). A memorial service will also be held in Tokyo later this month.

Yonamine, the first American to play professional baseball in Japan, died earlier this week at 85. The New York Times had a good obituary earlier this week, and a column in the Honolulu Star Advertiser shed light on how Yonamine dealt with death threats and other pressures when he started playing in Japan.

However, Yonamine became a star in Japan and was elected to the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. He was also the first Asian-American to play in the NFL.

NOT THAT IT'S GONNA HAPPEN: But contraction isn't going to happen.

Union chief Michael Weiner tells the St. Petersburg Times that the union will fight any attempt to contract teams.

"Having been in bargaining in baseball since the late 80s, anything is fathomable, so we don't either take anything for granted or rule anything out," Weiner said. "All I would says is if that changes, if contraction becomes a goal of the owners in this negotiation, the tenor of the talks would change quickly and dramatically."

Bud Selig tells the Los Angeles Times it's not a goal for the owners, and it's certainly not a fight they want to take up.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com