By Andrew Porter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When it comes to sports, Philadelphia doesn’t agree on much. However, one thing the majority of the city does share is their love for Chase Utley.
On Monday, Utley confirmed his hope to stay in this city.
“I want nothing more than to play for this organization for as long as I can now,” Utley said during his Spring Training press conference Monday afternoon. “For as much respect that I have for the organization, if they ever came to me and asked me I would have to listen, but I don’t think that much will change.”
The Phillies have the lowest projected over/under win total in baseball, only 68.5 games, but don’t tell Utley.
“I think we have a much better team than people think,” Utley said. “It’s gonna look a little bit different than it has in the past. When you really think about it, we have two number one guys at the top of our rotation. Obviously, we all know that we have a very good bullpen. We’re going to filter in some younger guys offensively, give them a chance to play a little bit more, see what they can do.”
“I’m not counting ourselves out whatsoever,” Utley continued. “I think we definitely have some work to do. But I know the veterans in there haven’t given up.”
Utley, who says his knees feel good, admitted to injuring his ankle in January when he stepped on a baseball taking ground balls.
“Everything was going great until I sprained my ankle in January, so that was—kinda put a wrinkle in this,” Utley said. “So I’m still kind of dealing with that right now. Its improved dramatically over the past two weeks, but it’s still not perfect. Early in camp, I’m still gonna kinda take care of it a little bit.
“Obviously as you get older, taking some days off would probably be beneficial for you as an individual. A lot of times it’s hard to go into the manager’s office and say, ‘Hey, I don’t want to play today’ ’cause that’s not the case for me. Is it a fact that I kinda wear down as the season goes? Yeah, I would say that’s the case. I play the game fairly hard and every game I’m spent.”
What about playing first-base?
“Ruben [Amaro Jr.] called me earlier in the off-season and wanted to kind of pick my brain about,” Utley said. “If there’s times during the season where Ryno [Ryne Sandberg] wants to give somebody a blow and put me at first base, I would be open to it, but I don’t see a position change at this point.”