Chase Utley is headed to the DL with very vague ankle inflammation, which has apparently been bothering him all year.
“It’s hard to tell,” Utley said, asked how much the ankle has affected him at the plate. “Obviously, it’s been bothering me for a little while. Most players have aches and pains through the year. So I’m not shocked with that. It’s really showing no improvement. So I think it’s a good time to get it right. We will have a cortisone shot tomorrow. We’ll take a little time off, and hopefully that will get it squared away.”
What it is and what it will take to get it right is somewhat murky. But Utley – whose .179 batting average and .532 OPS looks like it belongs to a slugging starting pitching – had been benched three of the last four games.
What’s more interesting is that Utley has a $15 million vesting option (every Phillie gets a vesting option!) for 2016 if he gets (attains?) 500 plate appearances for the season, so there can be conjecture that he’s been downplaying the injury to the detriment of the already shitty team in order to get paid another year.
But, of course, Ryne Sandberg comes out of this stupid is as stupid does, as usual. He told reporters that he was unaware Utley had been playing through pain: “My communication with Chase throughout this season about playing is that he’s been up and willing to go, and no real reports of anything holding him back. I was a little bit surprised by it in some regards.”
Yet, Zolecki points out that Utley had an MRI on May 16 and head trainer Scott Sheridan was well aware of the inflammation and swelling.
So, two takeaways here: 1) Sandberg’s ineptitude continues to amaze, and 2) it looks like we’re nearing the end of the Chase Utley era. To say that makes me sad would be an understatement.