Chase Utley Feels Pretty Damn Good Right Now
2/15/2013 2:05:00 PM
Some of the biggest names for the Phillies have spoken to the media this week in Clearwater. First, it was Roy Halladay on Wednesday. Then Ryan Howard took his turn yesterday. Today it was Chase Utley’s chance to speak with reporters about how his knees are holding up.
Utley, who is in the final year of a 7-year, $85 million extension that was signed in January of 2007, has a lot to prove this season as he is playing for his final big contract – either in Philadelphia or elsewhere.
How is the man with the most important knees in Philly sports doing right now?
“I’m feeling really well. It was a very productive offseason. As you guys probably know, I changed a few things up this offseason. I essentially didn’t stop playing baseball which I haven’t done in the past. I think that has really helped. I started taking groundballs about a week or so after the season ended.”
It sounds like Utley has really found something with this new regiment as he has seemingly been in high spirits for a while now.
“I feel pretty damn good right now. Hopefully it will stay that way and I think it will. I think all the hard work I did this offseason has paid off. I sent Charlie a text message sometime around Christmas and I told him that if he behaves himself maybe Santa will bring him a healthy second baseman.
“So far, so good. I’m happy with what I did this offseason and I plan to stick with it throughout the year and the rest of my career.”
Utley also explained his rationale for working out at third base last season. The Phillies ended up shutting that down pretty quickly and the door was officially shut when they acquired Michael Young from the Texas Rangers in December.
“I threw it out there to Ruben just to see what he would say. I was unsure what they were going to do at third base and I think there were at the time, too. I wanted to give them that option that I was willing to work and try to be a third basemen. After doing it for a month or so we realized that changing a position at 34 is probably not the most ideal thing to do.”
Echoing the sentiments of Ryan Howard yesterday, Utley doesn’t seem to mind the label of this team as ‘old.’ In fact, he singled out the newly acquired Ben Revere as a player that he is excited to see in action this season.
“I think that competition brings the best out of any player. We have some new faces and some younger guys with a lot of energy. Ben Revere for example is pretty exciting to watch. I just watched him track down fly balls in center field during batting practice and he’s pretty impressive. He’s a tremendous athlete. It’s going to be fun to watch him play on a daily basis.
“[Michael Young] is a professional, a true gamer. I was really happy when we were able to get him. Not only is he a great baseball player but a good guy.”