CLEARWATER, Fla. – Charlie Manuel was taking no chances. He walked around behind second base after the grounds crew dumped the tarp Tuesday afternoon. The squishing sound beneath his feet told him he didn’t want Chase Utley on the field.
Manuel scratched Utley from the lineup moments before the Phillies were about to play the New York Yankees. Kevin Frandsen started in place of Utley and continued to swing a hot bat with a double in the Phils’ 4-3 win.
Manuel’s abrupt decision to sit Utley caused some initial worry. Utley, of course, has battled knee problems the last two seasons and flareups can be unpredictable.
“What’s new?” Manuel said of the concern for Utley. “Chicken Little. The world is coming to an end. I see it all the time.”
Utley continues to feel good. He watched the game from the dugout. He will work out in Clearwater instead of traveling to Fort Myers to play the Twins on Wednesday.
• Kyle Kendrick allowed three hits and a run over two innings in his first start of the spring.
Kendrick comes to camp assured a rotation spot for the first time since 2008. He earned it by going 7-4 with a 3.20 ERA in 12 starts over the final two months after Joe Blanton was traded last season.
“I knew they were going to give me the chance and I had to prove I could be the guy,” Kendrick said. “I plan on continuing to do that this season. I’m hoping to build off last season, help us win some ballgames and get back to the postseason.”
• The Phillies had a big seventh inning Tuesday, and it might have been a glimpse at the future. Domonic Brown hit a mammoth home run to centerfield (see story), Cody Asche doubled and Tommy Joseph belted a two-run home run. The three-run inning rescued the Phils from a 3-1 deficit and propelled them to the win.
Brown, 25, is bidding for a spot in the Phils’ opening-day outfield. Asche, 22, and Joseph, 21, are considered the Phillies’ third baseman and catcher of the future, respectively.
All the hits in that inning came against Single A pitcher Zach Nuding.
• The Phillies travel to Fort Myers to face the Twins on Wednesday afternoon. Former Twin Ben Revere will make the trip to face his former mates. John Lannan makes his first start of the spring for the Phillies.