Chase Utley: I wasn't hurt, but now I'm better

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I keep saying that the extra days off are annoying, but on the bright side they give ballplayers a chance to mess with beat writers’ heads:

Is there anything wrong with your foot?” I asked Chase Utley yesterday.

“No,” he said.

“Is there anything wrong with your hip?”

“No,” he said.

“Would you tell us if there was?”

“Probably not.”

I wouldn’t tell them either.  Still, given Utley’s erratic play at second in the NLCS, there was a lot of speculation that he is or, at the very least was, in fact hurt.  Speculation that is supported by these kinds of statements from Utley:

“I think the days off right now are pretty special. You don’t have many days off during the regular season. You let your body relax, heal up. It’s a good thing.”

So there’s another silver lining to all of the days off. The injured (or not) Chase Utley is now healed (or not), and healthy ballplayers make for a better series.

At least until A-Rod slides in hard to second base on a would-be 6-4-3 and the throw goes wide . . .

The Phillies have shut down Jake Thompson

CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 03:  Jake Thompson #75 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch during the first inning of a spring training game against the Houston Astros at Bright House Field on March 3, 2016 in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Phillies rookie starter Jake Thompson has been shut down for the year. Not that there’s much of the year left, but he will not make what would’ve been his last start.

Thompson allowed three earned runs over four innings in the Phillies’ 17-0 blowout loss to the Mets. That leaves him with a 5.70 ERA in 53.2 innings for the season. Which, while that’s kind of ugly, it was a function of some bad starts mixed in with good starts as opposed to overall badness.

Everything about his 2016 should be viewed as “get yourself used to the big leagues, because you’re going to be part of this rotation in 2017 and beyond,” and from that perspective, you can call 2016 a success.

Congressional candidate uses Jose Fernandez’s death to score political points

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As a horrible Sunday unfolded yesterday there was at least one thing buoying the public mood: the overwhelming outpouring of emotion and love for Jose Fernandez and warm remembrances of his all-too-brief time on Earth.

But it wasn’t a unanimous sentiment. Some people, like this Florida state representative who is currently running for Congress, thought it was a great time to make a political point:

Setting aside the tastelessness of Gaetz’s timing and intent, one wonders if he appreciates that the reason Fernandez risked his life on multiple occasions was specifically so he could live in a country where protesting and not exhibiting a reflexive loyalty and patriotism is a fundamental right and does not get you thrown in jail.

But really, it’s the tastelessness which most galls here.