Phillies GM says Chase Utley “is doing very, very well”

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Last month Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. described himself as “cautiously optimistic” that Chase Utley would be healthy enough to play an everyday role in 2013, but Amaro has basically ditched the “cautiously” part now.

Amaro told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that Utley “is doing very, very well” while participating in baseball activities five days per week.

Utley is 34 years old and is always going to have issues playing through chronic knee problems, but he looked good down the stretch last season while hitting .264 with a .798 OPS in August and September.

Max Scherzer reaches 300 strikeouts on the season

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Nationals ace Max Scherzer struck out his 300th batter of the season on Tuesday night against the Marlins. Austin Dean was the victim, swinging and missing at a 3-2 curve for the second out in the seventh inning.

Scherzer’s 2018 is the seventh 300-strikeout season since 2000. The others: Chris Sale (308; 2017 Red Sox), Clayton Kershaw (301; 2015 Dodgers), Randy Johnson (334; 2002 Diamondbacks), Curt Schilling (316; 2002 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (372; 2001 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (347; 2000 Diamondbacks). It’s the 67th 300-strikeout season dating back to 1883.

At the conclusion of the seventh, Scherzer had held the Marlins to a run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He entered the start 17-7 with a 2.57 ERA across 213 2/3 innings. Jacob deGrom will almost certainly win the NL Cy Young Award, but Scherzer’s 2018 has been outstanding.