Chase Utley has a mild concussion

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Chase Utley was hit in the head with an Eric O’Flaherty pitch in last night’s game. He stayed in, but was later pulled for a pinch hitter after complaining of a headache. Ruben Amaro said afterward that he has a “mild concussion.”

Utley was held back from joining the team on its flight to Milwaukee and will see a doctor in Philadelphia today.  The team believes that this is minor, however, and thinks that Utley could play this weekend. Obviously you don’t mess around with that kind of thing, and given the Phillies’ comfortable lead, an abundance of caution seems to be in order.

Here was the pitch, by the way. I didn’t watch the game, but I’m not aware of any bad blood or anything that would have led to this being a purpose pitch. Utley hadn’t done anything in the game except fly out a couple of times. At the time of the pitch there were two men on with two out in a tie game, so if O’Flaherty was truly trying to send some sort of message, it would have been oddly timed and unprovoked.

Obviously my view is that it is never appropriate to hit someone intentionally, so even if there was something in the past that “justified” this in O’Flaherty’s mind, it wasn’t justified in reality. But really, I can’t see anything here that would suggest he was hit intentionally. I would think the ball simply got away from O’Flaherty.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.