Now the Phillies and Chase Utley won’t even talk about his health status

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For a while the Phillies tried to downplay the fact that Chase Utley wasn’t playing in any games this spring, insisting that it was being done to keep the second baseman and his bad knees from wearing down during the long season.

Eventually they had to give up that ghost because Utley left camp to be examined by a specialist and has zero chance of being ready for Opening Day, but now that he’s back at spring training today everyone has decided to simply stop giving any information about his status.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that “Ruben Amaro Jr. declined to provide an update” and “Utley declined to make himself available to reporters.”

Across baseball the past few weeks have been filled with teams and players providing “optimistic” updates about injuries that give way to setbacks or further injuries or revealing that … well, they were kind of fibbing in the first place. That’s unfortunately become commonplace, but simply giving media members the silent treatment is a new one.

UPDATE: Gelb passes along word that the Phillies say Utley “will address reporters Sunday.” I’ll go out on a limb and say the news isn’t good, but I suppose we’ll have to wait 48 hours to find out for sure.

Watch: Shohei Ohtani strikes out his first spring training batter

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Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.

On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.

It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.

While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.