For the first time in three years, Chase Utley will play second base for the Phillies in their five inning intrasquad scrimmage on Friday and their Spring Opener on Saturday as first reported by Ryan Lawrence. According to Lawrence, Utley will start at second in both games and will rest Sunday. As normal with Spring Training, veterans often do not play every inning.
Lawrence pulled a particularly interesting quote from Charlie Manuel:
I think (Utley) really put a lot of hard time in last year. He went to Arizona. And I think after the season was over, with the way he’s swinging right now and the way he looks, you could tell he’s definitely willing to pay the price to get back to where he was. I think Utley wants to play quite a few more years. And that’s good.
With Utley having built in rest, and Pete Orr leaving to play with Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic at some point, Cesar Hernandez may have his first true extended Spring Training audition as a member of the 40-man roster.