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.
Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani put on a show during Saturday’s matinee against the Cubs. Up 2-1 in the third inning, the hurler hooked a Brian Duensing fastball over the left field fence for his first career home run — and first career grand slam:
Grand slams are impressive no matter the player or situation, but they’re made all the more special in rare circumstances like this one. Not only is DeSclafani the first pitcher to deliver a grand slam in 2018, but he’s the first Reds hurler to do so in nearly 60 years. Per MLB.com’s Brian Scott Rippee, right-hander Bob Purkey was the last to hit a slam for the Reds in 1959, when he took Cubs reliever John Buzhardt deep in the third inning of a 12-3 drubbing.
The 28-year-old righty had a decent outing on the mound as well, holding the Cubs to two runs, four walks, and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings before passing the ball to reliever Michael Lorenzen. Entering Saturday, he carried a 2-1 record in three games, with a 4.60 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 across 15 2/3 innings — not too shabby for someone who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016.
The Reds currently lead 8-2 in the bottom of the seventh.