The Phillies have officially refused to press the panic button with respect to Chase Utley’s wonky knee. The official word: there may be something more going on than mere soreness and tendinitis, but they are hoping for some improvement soon. Today, however, Paul Hagen says that “the fret level around Bright House Field is a lot higher than the public What-Us-Worry? posture suggests.” He goes on to outline the Phillies potential moves to deal with a longer-than-expected Utley absence.
The “fret level” thing is impossible for any of us to verify, of course. I think the larger discussion of injuries and alternatives — for Utley and anyone else — is more interesting, though, because it could tell us more about the Phillies chances this year than anything else. It’s easy to look at the Phillies’ roster and write them down as the NL East champs in ink, but it’s also the case that this team is older than most contenders. Any team is sunk if it suffers injuries, but older teams are more likely to have injuries.
Last year there was a serious case for Charlie Manuel to win Manager of the Year because he held the team together despite a bunch of injuries during the pre-Oswalt months of the season. If Utley is hurt worse than we think and if other veteran Phillies hands suffer maladies, Cholly may have to reach into his bag of tricks again.
The other night, Blue Jays reliever Joaquin Benoit needed help getting off the field after the second benches-clearing incident with the Yankees. It was later revealed that Benoit tore a calf muscle during the fracas, ending his season.
Yesterday he pointed the finger at just about everyone else for the incidents like the one that led to his injury. Hitters specifically. From The Star:
“I believe as pitchers we’re entitled to use the whole plate and pitch in if that’s the way we’re going to succeed,” Benoit said. “I believe that right now baseball is taking things so far that in some situations most hitters believe that they can’t be brushed out. Some teams take it personally.”
That “take it personally” line is interesting coming from Benoit as, in this instance, it seemed pretty clear that the whole plunking exchange which led to his injury started because Josh Donaldson took an inside pitch that did not seem to be a purpose pitch at all, too personally.
Did Benoit take a veiled swipe at his teammate here? If so, that’s pretty notable. If not it’s notable in another way, right? As it suggests that Benoit believes it’s OK for his teammates to take issue with inside pitches but anyone else who does is part of the problem?
Which is it, Joaquin?
There will be a public memorial service for Jose Fernandez today. The Miami Marlins said in a news release today that fans can gather along the west side of Marlins Park this afternoon for the departure of a funeral motorcade at 2:16 p.m. Fernandez wore No. 16 on his jersey. For those not in Miami, ESPN will provide live coverage of memorial services from 2-2:30 p.m. EDT.
A public viewing will be held at St. Brendan’s Catholic Church from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. A private funeral Mass will be held tomorrow for family and Marlins players and personnel.
In lieu of flowers, the Fernandez family asks for charitable contributions to the JDF16 Foundation,