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.

Mariners to hire Tim Laker as their hitting coach

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Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that the Mariners plan to hire Tim Laker as their new hitting coach. He’ll replace Edgar Martinez, who has moved into a different role with the club.

Laker has spent the past spent the past two years as the Arizona Diamondbacks assistant hitting coach. Before that he was a coach and manager in the minor league systems of the Indians and White Sox. He, of course, also spent 11 seasons in the Majors as a catcher, playing for the Indians, Expos, Devil Rays, Pirates and Orioles.