Ryne Sandberg gave the struggling Chase Utley the night off on Tuesday. It may last more than a night. When asked about thwy Utley was benched and whether it was to give him a “mental break,” Sandberg agreed with the notion:
“There’s something to that,” Sandberg said. “Sometimes you can take a break and get away from mental grind and the mental work he puts into his daily routine . . . I told him to take a little break . . . Just take a break and start fresh,” Sandberg said. “Hopefully his luck will change.”
It will likely continue for today’s game against the Braves. The Phillies are off tomorrow and Utley will be back on Friday, one assumes.
Utley is 9-for-87 on the year, which translates to a .103 average. That’s the lowest among 183 qualifying hitters in the majors.
Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen would have opened the regular season on the injured list if it had started on time. Now, with the start of the season pushed back at least a few months due to coronavirus (COVID-19), the veteran five-time All-Star says he will be “ready to go” whenever the season begins, he told NBC Sports Philadelphia.
McCutchen, 33, tore his ACL in early June, ending his 2019 campaign. To that point, he had been quite productive for the Phillies, batting .256/.378/.457 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI over 262 plate appearances. If and when the 2020 season does begin, he will likely reprise his role as the leadoff hitter, this time under new manager Joe Girardi.
2020 marks the second year of McCutchen’s three-year, $50 million contract initially signed with the Phillies in December 2018. The Phillies also hold a $15 million club option for the 2022 season with a $3 million buyout.