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Phillies not planning to use Utley at third

The SportsXchange

Chase Utley met with manager Charlie Manuel and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. prior to Friday's game

in Miami. It was nothing more than an end-of-the-season exit interview of sorts, something Manuel and Amaro

plan to do with each of their All-Star, core players before everyone parts ways this Wednesday.

But Utley regularly keeps a dialogue with management on the state of the team. It was just a month ago,

in fact, that he met with Amaro and volunteered his services at third base, a position the Phillies don't

have an obvious solution for in 2013 but also a position Utley hadn't played since he was in Triple A

Scranton Wilkes Barre in 2002.

Although Utley diligently worked at third base in at least a half-dozen pregame sessions in the last

month, the experiment was shut down before he could test himself in a game. Prior to Friday's 2-1 loss in

Miami, Amaro said Utley wouldn't play third in any of the final six games on the Phillies schedule and

likely wasn't a solution at the position next year either.

"It's kind of on hold now, I guess," Amaro said. "After having thought about it a lot, I think he's

made progress at third base. I don't know if it's a matter whether or not he can do it. I think it's more a

matter of practicality and what's really best for the team overall.

"While having that option would be helpful, I don't know if it's really an option that's going to make

us necessarily better. Freddy (Galvis) could play third. We could try to find somebody from the outside to

play third. (Kevin) Frandsen could play third. We still have some options."

Although Amaro didn't have a problem with Utley at third -- the GM said the long-time second baseman had

made positive progress in the last month -- he figured it would make just as much sense to put the sure-

handed Galvis at third and leave Utley at second. When initially considering moving Utley, Amaro said one

of the advantages was to get the 22-year-old Galvis back at second base, where he played superb defense in

place of Utley in the first two months of the season.

"He did work out there during spring training," Amaro said. "Overall, there were pretty good reviews on

how he handled it. He didn't do it in any games. But the man went from short to second and was awesome. And

now ... I don't know if it's that much of a stretch to move him to third base and not think he'd be a plus

defender."

But it's also likely that the Phils look beyond both Utley and Galvis and find an external option for

third base in 2013. With a thinning free-agent crop, that new player could come via trade.
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