Chase Utley has a mild concussion


Chase Utley was hit in the head with an Eric O’Flaherty pitch in last night’s game. He stayed in, but was later pulled for a pinch hitter after complaining of a headache. Ruben Amaro said afterward that he has a “mild concussion.”

Utley was held back from joining the team on its flight to Milwaukee and will see a doctor in Philadelphia today.  The team believes that this is minor, however, and thinks that Utley could play this weekend. Obviously you don’t mess around with that kind of thing, and given the Phillies’ comfortable lead, an abundance of caution seems to be in order.

Here was the pitch, by the way. I didn’t watch the game, but I’m not aware of any bad blood or anything that would have led to this being a purpose pitch. Utley hadn’t done anything in the game except fly out a couple of times. At the time of the pitch there were two men on with two out in a tie game, so if O’Flaherty was truly trying to send some sort of message, it would have been oddly timed and unprovoked.

Obviously my view is that it is never appropriate to hit someone intentionally, so even if there was something in the past that “justified” this in O’Flaherty’s mind, it wasn’t justified in reality. But really, I can’t see anything here that would suggest he was hit intentionally. I would think the ball simply got away from O’Flaherty.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.