Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies gets set to throw before the start of a MLB baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
The Phillies' second baseman, coming back from a knee injury, played in his first rehab-assignment game Tuesday. It did not go well.
Philadelphia Phillies fans have a reputation for booing just about anything that appears at a sporting event.
This reputation was in evidence far away from Philadelphia Tuesday night, in Clearwater, Florida, where rehabbing Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was playing in his first rehab-assignment game. Bob Brookover:
The crowd is thinning here at Bright House Field as the game heads to extra innings, but a few of the fans that remained booed Chase Utley after Tampa Yankees lefty Rigaberto Arrebato struck him out to end the bottom of the ninth inning.
Arrebato got Utley to swing through an offspeed pitch and the boos followed.
Utley, who hadn't played in a game since the final game of the Phillies' division series loss to the Cardinals in 2011, went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. You'd think fans could cut him a little slack for that. This rehab assignment will continue for a while:
There was no immediate word on when he'll play in the field for the first time at second base or what his schedule will be beyond tonight.
We do know, however, that he will not be playing for Clearwater Friday, Saturday or Sunday because the Florida State League is shut down for its All-Star break.
Utley will remain in Clearwater during that time and play in simulated games, according to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
For Utley's sake, here's hoping he gets a hit or two soon. He doesn't deserve the boos.