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Soreness keeps Utley sidelined

FILLING IN: Phillies second baseman Pete Orr, getting the start with All-Star Chase Utley resting his sore legs, leapfrogs the Yankees’ Andruw Jones during a fourth-inning double play.

Associated Press

FILLING IN: Phillies second baseman Pete Orr, getting the start with All-Star Chase Utley resting his sore legs, leapfrogs the Yankees’ Andruw Jones during a fourth-inning double play.

TAMPA — Chase Utley says there's no reason for alarm. After his injury-plagued 2010, Phillies fans may need some convincing.

The five-time All-Star second baseman sat out his second straight exhibition game Saturday with leg and knee soreness, and he's not expected to play in today's spring home opener against the Yankees.

Manager Charlie Manuel insisted that this is normal for early spring training and that Utley is not hurt.

"He's getting better," Manuel said. "He's fine. He just has some soreness in his legs. He'll be better in a couple of days."

It's still unusual for a player to miss time early in the spring for general soreness.

Utley, who did not make the trip to Tampa for Saturday's game against the Yankees, was cheerful but coy when talking about his condition with reporters.

"If there's cause for concern, you'll be the first to know," he said.

Utley, who has been arguably the Phillies' best player during their run of four NL East titles, played in only 115 games last season thanks to a torn thumb ligament that required surgery.

HAMELS STRONG: LHP Cole Hamels allowed one unearned run over two innings in Philadelphia's 5-4 victory over the Yankees. He struck out two, walked one and hit a batter during his 33-pitch outing. "It's fun any time games start," Hamels said. "It's a lot better than practices. Getting the hitters in there, getting the game rolling. That's something that's very hard to simulate. It was good."

Yanks: Opening bid

TAMPA — Veteran RHP Bartolo Colon, bidding for one of two open spots in the Yankees rotation, was pleased with his outing after he gave up one run and two hits in two innings against the Phillies.

Colon, 37, who has been out of the majors since 2009, threw 23 of 36 pitches for strikes.

"I thought it was a good first step," Colon said through an interpreter. "I'm going to continue working hard and see what happens."

Colon was released by the White Sox in September 2009 after going 3-6 with a 4.19 ERA in 12 starts. He is competing with RHPs Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre for one of the final two rotation spots behind LHP CC Sabathia and RHPs Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett.

BOSS HONORED: Former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who died in July at age 80, was honored before the game. The ceremony included Steinbrenner's wife, Joan, and daughters, Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal and Jessica Steinbrenner, placing roses on the interlocking N.Y. behind home plate. Steinbrenner's granddaughter, Haley Swindal, sang the national anthem.

Jays: It's early

DUNEDIN — Brett Cecil knows he has work to do.

The left-hander, 24, expected to be the Blue Jays' No. 3 starter this season, allowed a run on three hits while striking out one over two innings in a 4-0 loss to the Tigers. He escaped a first-inning jam then allowed a run in the second on a Brandon Inge double and two groundouts.

"It feels all right," Cecil told MLB.com. "Every pitch was on the opposite part of the plate than where I wanted it. I left balls up. (My) changeup was real flat, straight in there. But it was the first time out.

"The first couple of starts, it (is) all just about getting back into the rhythm of things. There's only so much you can do in bullpens. But once you get out there and face live hitters, things start to click for the better."

Cecil last year was 15-7 with a 4.22 ERA in his first full season in the majors.

.Fast facts

Blue Jays

Where: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin

Today: at Tigers, 1:05,

Lakeland

Phillies

Where: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater

Today: vs. Yankees, 1:05, Bright House Field

Yankees

Where: Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King, Tampa

Today: at Phillies, 1:05

Soreness keeps Utley sidelined 02/26/11 [Last modified: Saturday, February 26, 2011 9:08pm]

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