SAN DIEGO — A month ago, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. proclaimed that Chase Utley was no longer the team’s primary second baseman, that he had been overtaken by Cesar Hernandez.
On Friday, Utley returned from a six-week stay on the disabled list, played second base and batted leadoff for the first time since 2004.
Ditto Saturday night.
Utley got a rest Sunday — he did come off the bench with a big pinch-hit double late in the game — and will return to the starting lineup Monday night in Arizona, according to interim manager Pete Mackanin.
That’s a lot of PT for a guy who’s no longer the primary guy.
So what’s going on here?
A showcase. No one would ever admit it, but that’s what’s going on here.
There are some teams interested in picking up Utley for the stretch drive and they need to gauge his health and productivity before taking the plunge.
The Cubs have had some interest. The Angels, too. The Yankees have been mentioned.
But the team that might have the most interest of all could be the San Francisco Giants. Joe Panik, their All-Star second baseman, is on the disabled list with lower back inflammation. He is expected to return, but Utley might be a nice insurance policy, not to mention a pinch-hitter and winning clubhouse presence.
The Giants had a scout in San Diego for the entire Phillies series and sources tell CSNPhilly.com that the scout was indeed keeping tabs on Utley.
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