Utley Said He Isn’t Finished Yet
Here are some highlights:
Q: How much different does you knee feel compared to last spring training?
A: It feels significantly better. Last year it was very uncomfortable, especially the first week. Right now, I think I’m in a good place. The goal for me is to kind of stay in the same place and improve in small increments and not try to irritate it to the point where I’d have to slow down. So we’ll see how it goes.
Q: Did you have to change what you did over winter?
A: I did. I did. A lot more stretching, manual therapy, not as much weight lifting, weight lifting was at a minimum in terms of heavier weight. It was the small things, trying to make my glutes stronger, my hamstrings stronger, everything around my knee stronger to take the brunt of the force.
Q: Did your inability to keep your lower half strong during the season prevent you from driving the ball?
A: I think there’s no doubt that the things I was doing didn’t allow me to strengthen my legs. I don’t think that… it had any benefit from not having stronger legs, but this offseason I was able to strengthen them, maybe not quite as much as in the past, but they’re definitely stronger than they were going into last year, my goal now is to maintain that, ideally it would be nice to make them stronger, but at the same time I have to keep them loose and take it easy.
Q: Do you have something to prove to yourself?
A: I think I can overcome this without a doubt. I have pride in how I play and the way I play and that’s not going to change.
Q: Personal frustrations with production last season?
A: It’s always frustrating when you’re not playing well. Even when I am playing well I’m still not satisfied. You still have to have that drive on a daily basis and try to figure out ways to help the team win.
Q: Are you confident you can get back to ’08, ’09, All-Star form?
Q: How did you feel about last season?
A: Obviously, disappointed the way it ended. I thought we had a very good team to be the best team in baseball. We ran into the Cardinals, who were hot at the time. They played great throughout the playoffs and they deserved to win the World Series with the way they played. But I think we have another opportunity this year to get back on track. For me personally, as far as my performance, I wasn’t satisfied with how I performed on the field, but I was happy I was happy to get on the field after the initial month and a half or two.
Q: Because of lack of strength, at times did you square up a ball and it didn’t jump like it had in the past?
A: Maybe occasionally, but I tried not to let it affect me mentally. Once you think about it mentally it’s going to change your approach and make you even more frustrated. And that’s something you don’t want to be. I tried to put it behind me. I tried to take every game the same way, try to find a way to win. Whether that’s hitting a home run, getting a base, drawing a walk, getting hit by a pitch, those are the things I try to do on a daily basis.
Q: Why struggles against lefties?
A: There’s nothing I can put my finger on. Obviously last year wasn’t an ideal year individually, but I’m looking to improve on it.
Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!