Chase Utley appears poised to enter the Phillies lineup, having rejoined the big club this weekend and declared ready by his manager. In his postgame presser following the Phils' 2-0 Sunday loss, Charlie Manuel said Utley would be in the lineup tomorrow against Cincinnati.
The team is expected to be careful and judicious in its use of Utley, perhaps starting him every other game for a while or just mixing in far more off days than he's seen throughout his career to date. It hasn't been pretty, but the Phils have weathered the storm of not having one of their best hitters through nearly two months of the season.
Somehow (hint: pitching) they are still the first place team in the National League.
Although it's obviously great news that one of the game's best-hitting second basemen will rejoin a lineup that has gotten paltry production from the position to date, we don't know what exactly Utley will bring to the plate. The team will still be without Shane Victorino for a bit, but it's hard to imagine the lineup not getting a boost from Chase's return. Still, he's been away from big league pitching since October and could need some time to get his game together at the plate. There's also no guarantee he stays healthy for long.
But, the wait is over. The Phillies aren't the Phillies without Chase Utley, and the WFC is back.
Pete Orr was optioned to make room for Utley's activation.
In other roster news, Joe Blanton was placed on the DL, with Vance Worley being recalled. The Phils have also agreed to terms on a minor league deal with outfielder Scott Podsednik.
Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-US Presswire
What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?
In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.
Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."
It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.
And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.
"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?
The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.
Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.
If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.
"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."
That makes one of us.
The future of Villanova basketball just got brighter.
Brandon Slater, a 6-foot-6 wing and highly touted 2018 recruit, told Scout.com on Wednesday night that he has verbally committed to the Wildcats.
He later made the announcement on Twitter.
Among the 2018 recruiting class, Slater, a product of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, is ranked in the top 30 by Scout.com and top 50 by ESPN.com. He's slated as a four-star talent by both media outlets.
Per ESPN, Slater had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Syracuse, USC and Virginia Tech. He is Villanova's first commitment for 2018.
"Going up there it just feels like a second home," Slater said, via Evan Daniels of Scout.com. "It gives me a good vibe. It's nothing like all the other schools. I just feel like a Villanova guy. It feels like PVI. It's already home."
Slater and Villanova head coach Jay Wright expressed their excitement on Twitter.