Thursday, June 14, 2012

Utley's 1-for-13, but feeling good

For The Trentonian
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Chase Utley went 0-for-3 with two walks in his third rehab start with the Class A Threshers on Thursday night.
The bad news is that Utley is 1-for-13 in his rehab stint so far. The good news is he’s now played in three straight games, and he’s seeing more pitches and running the bases with relative ease.
"It was a step in the right direction," Utley said after the game. "I got a few walks, saw a bunch of pitches, felt fairly comfortable. Again, it’s a work in progress, trying to create as much comfort and timing at the plate as we can at this point."

Utley flew out to center in his first at-bat on a 1-2 pitch in the bottom of the first inning. He rolled over to second base in the third inning before drawing a full-count walk in the fifth inning – his first walk of the season. His knees were tested when Cody Asche singled down the right field line, running from first to third before Asche was gunned down at second to end the inning.
Utley said his knees "felt good."
"No issues whatsoever around the bases, so that, to me, is definitely a positive," said Utley, whose chronic knee problems landed him on the disabled list last season and shut him down in spring training.
He came up with the bases loaded and one out during a wild five-run rally in the sixth inning. With the count at 0-2, a wild pitch scored a run to tie the game, leaving first base open and giving Utley the chance to work another full-count walk. In the eighth inning, Utley put a charge into a 1-0 pitch but flew out to deep right center.
For now, Utley said he isn't too concerned with his lack of results at the plate and is more concerned with seeing live pitching in game situations.
"Obviously you want results, but I think you have to look at it as trying to create some timing, seeing some pitches, being able to recognize them and trying to put some good swings on the ball," Utley said. "Results aren’t as important right now when they will be in the future."
It’s still unclear when Utley will play his first game in the field, but he will field ground balls in extended spring games during the Florida State League’s All-Star break.
After Thursday's game the second baseman said "it's a possibility" he will play his first game in the field next week.
The Threshers will resume play on Monday when they host the Dunedin Blue Jays for a three-game series.


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