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Philadelphia Phillies' Chase Utley encouraged by hip's response to first game

CLEARWATER — 2B Chase Utley sees no reason why he won't be able to play for the Phillies on opening day.

The All-Star went 0-for-2 in his first spring game since offseason hip surgery and Philadelphia beat the Cardinals 2-1 on Sunday.

Utley led off and played four innings after going 2-for-4 in a minor-league intrasquad game at Philadelphia's training complex Saturday.

"The more I play and the better I feel, then the more optimistic I am," Utley said. "As long as we continue to have no setbacks, like we haven't had so far, I don't see why we won't be ready on opening day. "

Utley isn't expected to travel with the Phillies when they face the Yankees today in Tampa.

Park's outing: RHP Chan Ho Park, competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, tossed 42/3 shutout innings (six strikeouts, no walks, three hits). In the past two weeks, Park (1.54 ERA) and J.A. Happ (2.45 ERA) have emerged as the favorites.

Yankees: Improved

TAMPA — C Jorge Posada caught for the first time since right shoulder surgery in July, and LHP Andy Pettitte threw three scoreless innings in a 5-1 win over the visiting Twins.

"It was good to see him back there," said Pettitte, who allowed two hits. "A good day for me. I got through three innings, got through it healthy."

Posada played four innings behind the plate but didn't have a baserunner attempt a steal against him. He had been limited to designated hitter duties.

"I was really looking forward to catching," Posada said. "I felt surprisingly good."

Jays: Hot at plate

DUNEDIN — C Curtis Thigpen homered in the 10th inning to give the Blue Jays a 5-4 win over the visiting Reds.

DH Jason Lane also connected for the Blue Jays, who finished with 13 hits to back Brad Mills (five walks, two runs, four hits, four innings).

Moved: LHPs Mike Maroth, Brett Cecil and Ken Takahashi, OF Adam Loewen and INF Brian Dopirak were sent to the minor-league camp. Maroth can opt for free agency.

THE TEAMS

Blue Jays

vs. Red Sox

1:05 today,

Dunedin Stadium

Phillies

at Yankees

1:15 today, George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa

Blue Jays: Dunedin Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Tickets: Call toll-free 1-888-525-5297 or (727) 733-0429 or online at bluejays.com.

Phillies: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Tickets: Call (727) 467-4457 or online at phillies.com.

Yankees: 1 Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa. Tickets: Call (813) 879-2244 or online at yankees.com.

Philadelphia Phillies' Chase Utley encouraged by hip's response to first game 03/15/09 [Last modified: Sunday, March 15, 2009 11:56pm]

    

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