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Phillies star second baseman Utley plays first game since hip surgery

CLEARWATER — Phillies All-Star 2B Chase Utley, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery, played in a minor-league intrasquad game at Philadelphia's training complex.

Utley went 2-for-4 with a double in his first game since Game 5 of the World Series. He played four innings at second base and reported no problems.

"It seemed to go well," he told MLB.com. "As long as everything continues to go the way it has, the plan is to be out there" opening day.

Utley struck out his first two times up, then hit a chopper up the middle for a single off RHP Tyler Cloyd and ripped a ground-rule double to right-center off Cloyd.

ROOKIE BOOSTS BID: RHP Carlos Carrasco turned in a solid outing in a 5-2 victory over an Astros split squad, allowing one run and four hits in three innings. Carrasco is competing with Kyle Kendrick, Chan Ho Park and J.A. Happ for the final rotation spot.

Yanks: Rivera ready

TAMPA — Mariano Rivera is ready to pitch in games and says he will be ready for opening day.

The Yankees closer is set to make his first spring appearance Tuesday after throwing 40 pitches Saturday during his second batting practice session since coming back from right shoulder surgery in October.

Rivera said he felt good even though he was a little high with his pitches.

BURNETT DOMINATES: RHP A.J. Burnett pitched four perfect innings in a 3-1 split-squad win over the Astros. Burnett struck out three during his 40-pitch outing. He has allowed one hit over six shutout innings in two spring starts.

Jays: Maroth labors

LAKELAND — LHP Mike Maroth, trying to come back from shoulder surgery and win a rotation spot, might be running out of time. The former Tiger allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits and three walks in 22/3 innings of the Blue Jays' 10-4 loss to Detroit.

"Mike struggled a bit," manager Cito Gaston said. "It wasn't a good day for him. He struggled to get the ball over the plate and went deep into too many counts."

Maroth was supposed to go three innings but was pulled one out shy. "He needs to get it done now because we need to start getting more innings for more guys," Gaston said.

THE TEAMS

Blue Jays

vs. Reds

1:05 today, Dunedin

Stadium

Phillies

vs. Cardinals

1:05 today, Bright House Field, Clearwater

Yankees

vs. Twins

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

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

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.

. THE TEAMS

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Phillies star second baseman Utley plays first game since hip surgery 03/14/09 [Last modified: Saturday, March 14, 2009 8:56pm]
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