Phillies’ Utley is a Serious Star

By Daniel Massar 3/13/2010
The Phillies are coming into the new season with high expectations. Star second baseman Chase Utley believes his team has a good mindset heading into the new campaign.
“I think it’s pretty positive,” said Utley. “We have a good group of guys. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The Phillies loss in the last Fall Classic was not because of a lack of production from Utley. He tied Reggie Jackson’s record by smashing 5 home runs in the World Series against the Yankees. Utley also hit two homers in the Phillies’ victorious 2008 World Series against the Rays.
Utley has been one of the best second baseman in the majors the last four years. Last season he hit .282 with 31 home runs and 93 RBIs. The last two seasons he has only missed a combined 9 games. Utley talked about getting ready for the long season.
“The offseason is just about trying to get your body ready for the long haul during the season,” said Utley. “Playing 162 games is tough so the offseason for me is to get prepared.”
Utley’s emergence as a terrific major leaguer in 2005 made then Phillies second baseman Placido Polanco expendable so Polanco was shipped to the Tigers. This offseason he returned to the Phillies as a free agent and will move to third base. Polanco is excited to be playing alongside Utley.
“I’m very happy to have him on my club,” said Polanco. “He’s a superstar. I look forward to learning a lot from him.”
Utley hails from Long Beach, California and played college baseball at UCLA and spent the summer of 1999 playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League. He is a four time All Star and four time Silver Slugger Award winner.
Fellow All Star Ryan Howard bats cleanup behind Utley in the Phillies order. Howard talked about the intangibles that Utley brings to the field everyday.
“Chase brings that grit,” said Howard. “Chase just brings a different type of intensity to to the game.”
Utley has helped lead the Phillies to 3 straight NL East Titles, back-to-back NL Titles and the 2008 World Series Title. The Phillies should be favored to win the division again with all of their stars back for another season and with the additions of Cy Young winner Roy Halladay and Polanco. Utley stressed though that it will not be easy.
“We have a tough division, there’s no doubt about it,” said Utley. “Every team has their strong suits so we aren’t taking any team lightly.”