Chase Utley homers in first extended spring training game

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Get excited, Phillies fans. Chase Utley played in a baseball game this afternoon.

According to John Finger of CSNPhilly.com, Utley went 3-for-4 with a homer and a double while serving as the designated hitter in an extended spring training game.

While it was an encouraging first step, it’s not clear when Utley will be ready to test his left knee by playing the field. With that in mind, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was asked about whether the team has considered playing him at first base in order to put less stress on his knees. He didn’t completely dismiss the possibility.

“He’s played first base. He’s OK at first base,” Manuel said. “He hasn’t played there enough to say he’s a bona fide first baseman and stuff. I mean, there’s still footwork and stuff around the bag that he would need to improve on.

“I think it’s something before we go a long ways about it, we need to sit down and talk to him and see how he feels about it.”

Obviously Utley would have a big say on whether a position change would happen and the big variable in the equation is when Ryan Howard will be ready to return from Achilles’ tendon surgery. But it’s an interesting possibility to monitor.