Chase Utley finally shut down with season-long ankle injury

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Chase Utley being on pace to surpass the 500 plate appearances necessary to trigger next season’s $15 million is suddenly much less of an issue, as the Phillies placed the 36-year-old second baseman on the disabled list with right ankle inflammation.

Utley has hit .179 in 65 games this season and he originally injured the ankle during offseason workouts in January, but manager Ryne Sandberg was hesitant to blame the former All-Star’s struggles on the injury:

Not really. Because in my communication with Chase throughout the season about playing he’s always been up and willing to go and no real reports of anything holding him back, so I was a little bit surprised by it in some regards.

Utley admitted to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that the ankle has been an issue all season, although he added that “it’s hard to tell” whether it’s to blame for his career-worst performance.

It’s another sad turn in the story of a six-time All-Star who ranks as one of the greatest players in Phillies history and one of the best second basemen of this era, particularly after Utley stayed healthy enough to play 155 games last year and hit .270 with a .746 OPS to make the All-Star team at age 35.

He deserves a better final chapter.