Utley, feeling good, gets first day off in month
MILWAUKEE – Over the last few weeks, Chase Utley has said that his knees were feeling better and that he believes he’s reached “a good place” in dealing with the chronic condition that cost him significant playing time this season and last.
But words only say so much.
Perhaps the best read on Utley’s condition is this:
He got his first day off from the starting lineup in over a month Sunday. That’s noteworthy considering he could not get on the field in spring training, noteworthy because he was on a two-days-on-one-day-off plan when he came off the disabled list June 27.
Utley’s last day out of the starting lineup was July 15 in Colorado. That was also a Sunday afternoon game. Utley then played 30 straight games. His batting average was just .241 (26 for 108) in those games, but, in a sign that his legs are stronger, he did drive the ball well. He had six doubles, two triples and six homers over that span. He had a .383 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.
Manager Charlie Manuel said Sunday made sense for an off day for Utley because it came after night game and Milwaukee had lefty Randy Wolf on the mound. Utley was available for pinch-hitting duty.
“Utley’s feeling fine,” Manuel said. “Some days are better than others, but at the same time he’s been feeling good. He’s pleased. We’ve got to watch him, but he’s doing good.”
Michael Martinez got the start at second base in place of Utley and John Mayberry Jr. batted third. Without Utley’s bat, Manuel felt he needed some potential pop so he gave Ty Wigginton his first look of the season in left field while Domonic Brown played right field. E-mail Jim Salisbury at email@example.com