Chase Utley batting second in return to Phillies’ lineup

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Chase Utley is back from the disabled list after missing the first 46 games with a knee injury and he’s hitting second in the Phillies’ lineup tonight against right-hander Bronson Arroyo and the Reds.

Utley has hit third for most of his career but does have 168 career starts in the No. 2 spot, including nine last season.

Tonight manager Charlie Manuel is leading off Jimmy Rollins and batting Placido Polanco third, which is one way to get a right-handed bat in between Utley and fellow lefties Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.