Phillies manager: Moving Chase Utley to first base 'would eliminate a little wear and tear'

Sept 14, 3:56 PM

If the Philadelphia Phillies can trade Ryan Howard this offseason, the list of candidates to replace the veteran first baseman could include longtime teammate Chase Utley, who's served as the club's primary second baseman since 2005.

"I think playing first base would eliminate a little wear and tear (on Utley) at that position," manager Ryne Sandberg told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Whether that's a consideration or not has yet to be seen."

Utley, a six-time All-Star, has battled injury trouble in recent years - he averaged 108 games per season from 2010 to 2013 - and a potential move to first base could help keep him in the lineup.

Utley's production waned after the All-Star break this season, as the 35-year-old is hitting .239/.332/.359 with three home runs over his last 50 games, a possible consequence of fatigue.

"This year he showed up to spring training very strong-looking, very fit, and it's the grind of the season (where) he loses some of that strength," Sandberg said. "It's really hard to maintain that."

Feature photo courtesy of Reuters/Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports