State of the Chase
Chase Utley has been in Clearwater for a while, but he spoke to reporters for the first time today.
He had little to say, but here are some of the highlights:
“It seems like everybody is down here a little earlier this year. I think everyone is excited to get the season started. We’re pretty hungry. Last year was a little disappointing. We made some good acquisitions in the offseason to make us better, so we’ll see what happens. But we’re going to have a lot of fun.”
Q: Is there a sense of urgency?
A: “I try not to look too far ahead. I try to focus on that day and go from there. It’s no secret we have a strong pitching staff. We have an experienced team. I think we know how to win. We’re all working hard this offseason and this spring to continue to get better and go from there.”
Q: Can the offense bounce back following a down year from a few players?
A: “Last year was an up and down season. I know we finished with the best record in baseball last year. I believe we were second in runs scored. But I think we were better than we showed last year. Hopefully this offseason guys worked hard, which it seems like they did.”
Q: Ruben Amaro Jr. said you might have rushed back from your thumb surgery last season. How much did the injury affect you?
A: No, once I got on the field my thumb was fine. I’m a guy that wants to go out there and help the team win.
Q: Did you change anything in your offseason workouts?
A: Every year is a game of adjustments. You try to figure out what works best for you at that time. Yeah, I imagine there will be a few adjustments this year.
Q: Ryne Sandberg is with the organization. Can you pick his brain or learn from him?
A: Without a doubt. I plan on picking his brain. We’ve already had a few conversations. He’s one of the best second basemen of all time. I’d be dumb not to pick his brain.
Q: How would you assess your last couple seasons?
A: Let’s see. In ’09 we went to the World Series. We didn’t really accomplish the ultimate goal. And last year we came up a little short of the World Series. I think there’s some room for improvement on all ends.
Q: But personally, how much can you improve?
A: I always feel like I can improve.
Q: Would anything less than a World Series championship be a disappointment?
A: Don’t get too far ahead of yourself. We still have Spring Training to work. We still have to play 162 games. We’re not going to look too far ahead. We’re going to take it game by game. I know that’s boring, but that’s how we’re going to play it.
Q: From a personal standpoint was last year as frustrating a season as you’ve had? You’re numbers were down to places they haven’t been before.
A: Baseball is a game of failure. The good players learn how to deal with that failure and not let it affect them. Like I said, this year is no different. I’m going to try to improve on years past and go from there.
Sadly, Utley was not asked about his love for cheesesteaks or how cheesesteaks might have helped convince Lee to return to Philadelphia. Hopefully next time.