The last prognosis we heard regarding Chase Utley was that it would be eight weeks before he could make it back to the Phillies’ lineup. Todd Zolecki is tweeting, however, that Utley is planning on coming back sooner than that, saying that it will take five weeks to heal, one week to get his mobility back and then it’s go-time.
I’m sure he can do it if he sets his mind to it because he’s Chase Utley and that’s just how he’s wired. But there’s a big difference between being tough enough and determined enough to start playing baseball sooner than people thought you could and actually playing baseball at a high level within that time frame.
Put differently: someone who is not as emotionally involved in Chase Utley’s comeback needs to determine whether a 60-75% effective Chase Utley is preferable to a 100% Wilson Valedez or whatever.
Wait, I’m even asking that?
With last Wednesday’s start against the Yankees, Mariners hurler Hisashi Iwakuma pushed his 2016 innings total up to 2016. That clears the 162-inning hurdle for his 2017 option to vest at $14 million. However, as Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors reports, the language in Iwakuma’s contract also stipulates that the right-hander finish the season without suffering a specific injury.
Iwakuma, 35, was in agreement with the Dodgers on a three-year contract back in December but failed the physical, which nullified the deal. He ended up signing with the Mariners on a one-year, $12 million deal with a full no-trade clause and club options for 2017 and ’18 that vest at specific inning thresholds (162 each or 324 for both seasons).
This season, Iwakuma has stayed healthy, making 26 starts to the tune of a 14-9 record, a 3.81 ERA and a 118/36 K/BB ratio in 163 innings.
Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki deposited a single to left-center field in the fourth inning of Monday night’s game against the Mets, then added a double to center field in the eighth. Those mark hits No. 3,010 and 3,011 for Suzuki in his major league career, tying and then moving past Wade Boggs for sole possession of 27th on baseball’s all-time hits list.
Suzuki would come around to score on a double by Xavier Scruggs to break a scoreless tie in the eighth.
Here’s the video of Ichiro’s first hit.
By the end of the season, Suzuki will have presumably moved ahead of Rafael Palmeiro (26th; 3,020) and Lou Brock (25th; 3,023).
Suzuki was 2-for-4 after the double. With baseball’s fifth month nearly complete, the 42-year-old is currently batting .298/.371/.373.