Mark this down in the too-early-to-truly-matter category for now, but hey, it’s spring-like weather outside so why not discuss Spring Training? March Madness and the Philadelphia Eagles have gotten enough coverage lately. It’s time to start talking about the Philadelphia Phillies.
We’re still 24 days away from the Phillies’ regular season opener on April 5, but there has been a lot of chirpin’ lately about the continued absence of second baseman Chase Utley. We knew that the Phillies were going to be careful with Utley during Spring Training, but this is slower than most expected.
While the Phillies projected starting second baseman still hasn’t played in a Spring Training game, General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. last week told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki that he thinks Utley would still be able to get 30-40 at bats before the season starts. OK, that makes sense.
That same Todd Zolecki didn’t sound too convinced this morning when he talked to 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi this morning, though, according to CBS3. Here are some interesting lines from him:
…before Spring Training started, they said they were going to take things slowly with him and Placido Polanco. They said you’re not going to see them on the field a lot. You’re not going to see them doing a lot of different things that a normal player would do, but Polanco’s been playing. He’s been in and out. Play a game, rest a couple of games, whatever. Chase is not only not playing in games, he’s not taking ground balls, he’s not running. The only thing he does before every game is he’ll play catch, and he’ll taking batting practice, and that’s it.”
Zolecki goes on to point out that another cause for concern could be that the Phils have been playing youngster Freddy Galvis “almost exclusively” at Utley’s second base position the last couple days, instead of at his natural position at shortstop.
But should we really be concerned? I would say not quite yet. It’s still only March 13, after all. I’d much rather have a healthy Utley taking grounders and swinging the bat come early April than mid-March, and if the way to see that happen is to give him time off now, then so be it. If Utley’s status hasn’t changed in two weeks, then we can all start freaking out.
Until then, everyone should calm down – except maybe fantasy baseball owners.