Phillies GM admits Chase Utley will begin year on disabled list

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Confirming what has been expected for a while now, today Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. replied “I would think so” when asked if Chase Utley will begin the season on the disabled list because of his knee problems.

Amaro stopped just short of making it official, but said: “I haven’t seen him on the field yet and we’re a week away.”

Not having Utley in the Opening Day lineup is a big loss for the Phillies, but at this point his status for the entire season is uncertain. For now the Phillies continued to explore every possible non-surgical option, but there’s no timetable for his return and the possibility that he may need to go under the knife looms.

In the meantime Luis Castillo is auditioning to help fill in for Utley, with Wilson Valdes likely the primary replacement assuming he isn’t needed in place of Placido Polanco at third base.

Report: Nationals sign reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year deal

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Both a Kinsler and a Kintzler made headlines at the Winter Meetings. After the Angels acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler from the Tigers, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Nationals have inked reliever Brandon Kintzler to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

Kintzler, 33, spent the latter half of his 2017 campaign with the Nationals after the Twins traded him. Between both clubs, he put up an aggregate 3.03 ERA with 29 saves and a 39/16 K/BB ratio in 71 1/3 innings.

Sean Doolittle will handle save situations for the Nationals. Kintzler and Ryan Madson will bridge the gap to him in the seventh and eighth innings.