By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The heart and soul of the Phillies over the last decade or so, is losing his starting role.

When Chase Utley returns from his stint on the disabled list, he won’t necessarily be jumping back into the starting lineup. 25-year-old second baseman César Hernandez may have played himself into a starting role.

“Well, we don’t know what’s going to happen over the next couple of weeks,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told the 94WIP Morning Show on Tuesday. “But what I do know, is that Hernandez is playing outstanding baseball. He’s as good a second baseman there is in baseball right now, as far the way he’s played and taking advantage of the opportunity. I don’t see him coming off the field and being replaced by Chase, frankly.”

Listen: Ruben Amaro Jr. on the 94WIP Morning Show

 

After hitting .324 in 16 June starts, Hernandez is amid a current 12-game hitting streak, batting .419 in 31 July at-bats.

“Our goal is to continually try to play with young players and we’ll try to fit Chase in as we see fit,” Amaro said. “Perhaps he’ll play a little first base, maybe a little second base, but we’re not gonna take away time from our young players, particularly the ones that are playing really, really well.”

As for Utley, the 36-year-old six-time all-star and World Series winning infielder, he had this to say on Tuesday.

“Well, I think César has done a really good job – there you go.”