With Justin Turner and Jimmy Rollins both banged up, Chase Utley will do something in tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks that he has never done in his major league career. After appearing in 1,574 games, he will make his first ever start at third base.
Utley, now 36, hasn’t played third base since he was a 23-year-old in Triple-A in 2002. However, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com writes that he has been taking ground balls at the position over the past couple of weeks. Utley has already made one start at first base since coming over to the Dodgers and this isn’t a bad time to test his versatility further, as starting second baseman Howie Kendrick recently returned from the disabled list.
Utley is batting just .207/.291/.359 with two home runs and five RBI in 103 plate appearances since the trade.
When Adam Wainwright tore his left Achilles in late April, the assumption was that he would be done for the season. However, that Cardinals Devil Magic is at it again, as it’s beginning to sound like he could be available to pitch during the postseason.
According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, Wainwright has been cleared by doctors to begin baseball activities and could throw a simulated game soon. The hope is that he’ll be able to make it back as a reliever. Of course, Wainwright broke into the majors as a reliever and played a crucial role in the team’s World Series run in 2006.
It would be quite a lift to get Wainwright back in any capacity, but it’s still incredible to see what the Cardinals have been able to do without him. Their 2.92 staff ERA is the best in MLB since the 1988 Mets.
Troy Tulowitzki was back in Toronto on Saturday after leaving the Blue Jays to visit with a specialist earlier this week. While there’s still no timetable on his return from a small crack in his left shoulder blade and bruised muscles in his upper back, he told Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet.ca that he’s making progress.
“I feel a lot better. I mean, I can lift my arm now. Before I couldn’t even move my arm,” Tulowitzki said Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre. “Every day I feel like I’m making strides. I’m definitely headed in the right direction.”
Tulowitzki hasn’t done any baseball activity since suffering the injury on a collision with teammate Kevin Pillar last Saturday. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos initially threw out a rough timetable of 2-3 weeks for his return, but more should be known after he undergoes follow-up tests late next week.
Tulowitzki, who was acquired from the Rockies in late July, was batting .230/.314/.368 with five home runs and 17 RBI over his first 39 games with the Blue Jays. Ryan Goins is currently filling in at shortstop while Cliff Pennington is getting regular duty at second base.