Chase’d from home: no Utley (flu) for Phillies home opener

Chase’d from home: no Utley (flu) for Phillies home opener

Ah, the familiar sights of Citizens Bank Park. The Mike Schmidt statue outside the third base gate. The Robin Roberts statue outside the first base gate. The Ryan Howard statue at first base. Chase Utley at second base. Baseball doesn’t get much better than when Utley is playing in the dirt.

Unfortunately for fans making the journey to the ballpark to take in the Philadelphia Phillies home opener, they won’t be treated to the sound of baseball this afternoon—Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir. Utley is not in the lineup today, as he’s suffering from the flu, which I can report is really going around this spring.

Don’t blame Utley for his absence though. Ryne Sandberg makes it sound almost as if he had to have security escort his second baseman out of the building today.

Okay, so maybe I took a little bit of creative license there, but there is no doubt in my mind Utley really hates missing the home opener. Now be sure to stop at CVS if you’re on your way to the game and pick up a get well card for Chase, because the Phils are need his lumber back in the lineup ASAP.

Your starting lineups:

Phillies officially sign outfielder Michael Saunders, DFA Severino Gonzalez

Phillies officially sign outfielder Michael Saunders, DFA Severino Gonzalez

The Phillies on Thursday officially announced the signing of outfielder Michael Saunders to a one-year deal with a club option for 2018. 

According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Saunders will make $9 million this season with the Phillies and the club option for 2018 will be worth $11 million with escalators potentially pushing it to $14 million.

Saunders, 30, is the left-handed hitting outfield bat the Phils were seeking. He hit 24 home runs for the Blue Jays last season in his walk year, making the AL All-Star team before slumping in the second half.

Saunders hit .298/.372/.551 with 16 homers in 82 games for the Blue Jays before the All-Star break, then hit .178/.282/.357 with eight homers in 58 games after.

He had a good year against same-handed pitching, hitting .275 with a .927 OPS and eight homers against lefties. 

He'll likely start in right field for the Phillies, with Odubel Herrera in center and Howie Kendrick in left (see Phils' projected lineup).

Saunders, who will wear No. 5, can also play first base, which could allow the Phillies to sit Tommy Joseph against a tough right-hander and fill in the outfield.

It was important to Phillies GM Matt Klentak that the player he signed to fill the spot in the outfield was not going to block young outfielders like Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and others.

On a one-year deal, Saunders came relatively cheap to the Phils, lingering in free agency as other hitters found contracts. In the middle of last summer, Saunders seemed poised for a multi-year contract like the four-year, $52 million deal Josh Reddick signed with the Astros. His second half cost him some money.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Saunders, the Phillies designated right-hander Severino Gonzalez for assignment.

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

He’s done it again.
 
Eleven days ago, Sixers social media went wild over a video that showed Joel Embiid walking out to the ring as a WWE character in WWE 2K17. Well, YouTube user Hillman811 is back with an even better version of the video complete with Sam Hinkie and fans chanting.
 
The first video sparked questions to Embiid about his favorite WWE wrestler, and he even did his own Triple H introduction at the Wells Fargo Center after The Game threw him an All-Star vote (see story).
 
Watch the video below and let your mind run wild with what this would look like if it actually happened.