When we passed this along yesterday the word was that Chase Utley was going to miss five or six weeks as a result of his thumb surgery. Now the team is saying that it’s more like eight weeks.
Can a team can survive the loss of one of baseball’s best players for that long? If anyone can it’s probably the Phillies who have firepower elsewhere in the lineup, but this is simply a devastating blow. Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said yesterday
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a situation where we have to go get
somebody,” but with Utley and Placido Polanco out, I’m not sure how they can avoid looking for infield help.
But who’s available? Maybe the best choice is Ty Wigginton, who is reportedly being shopped by the Orioles. He’s been hitting well this year and, while he’s a defensive falloff from Utley, so too is just about every other second baseman in baseball.
Of course, the Phillies could just slide Polanco back over to second base when he returns — it was basically his only position for the previous four years of his career — and look for a third baseman instead. I heard people talking about Mike Lowell yesterday, but he’s not healthy either right now and I doubt he’s going to be terribly effective even when he comes back.
Hank Blalock is out of a job too and probably still remembers how to play third base. No, he didn’t hit at all in Tampa Bay, but neither did Pat Burrell and he’s bounced back nicely since coming over to the senior circuit.
Nothing too inspiring out there, I don’t suppose, but it strikes me that Philly needs to do something to stay in the tight NL East race.
Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:
The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.
The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.
A report from Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reveals that prospective Marlins’ owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman have already initiated several key firings within the organization. While the sale of the team is still pending final approval next month, Jeter reportedly pushed club president David Samson to remove four special assistants this week: Andre Dawson, Tony Perez, Jack McKeon and Jeff Conine.
Hall of Fame infielder Dawson, outfielder Perez and Marlins’ legend Conine served as special assistants to the president. McKeon, who served as team manager from 2003-2005 (and briefly in 2011), was terminated from a 12-year post as special assistant to owner Jeffrey Loria.
The move didn’t come as a big surprise to Dawson and McKeon, Jackson and Spencer noted. It’s part and parcel of dealing with new ownership. But it was disappointing news nonetheless, especially as the long-tenured McKeon might lose an opportunity to return next September to manage one game and cement his status as the oldest manager in MLB history.
Should the Marlins’ sale go through in October as expected, this figures to be the beginning of several cuts. Per Jackson and Spencer:
Jeter also is expected to fire some people on the baseball side of the operation, though it’s believed president/baseball operations Michael Hill will be retained, at least indefinitely if not permanently.
Any replacements for those already released from the team have yet to be announced.