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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Utley hits every right note after Asche demotion

After falling,' 4-3, to Pittsburgh Monday, the Phillies chased Cody Asche to the minors, ordering him to learn to play left field.

That inspired a strong blast of leadership from Chase Utley, who made certain to drape his arm around Asche, who said every professionally correct thing, yet clearly was shaken by the move.

With Jeff Francoeur and Darin Ruf, Utley stayed with Asche for a long time, quietly giving him professional counsel and friendship.

This is what Utley, whose locker coincidentally is next to Asche's, said afterward:

“He's a good kid. He's a hard worker. I think he understands the situation and is going to go down there and have a positive outlook and try to be the best left fielder he can be.

“There is no doubt in my mind that he is going to work at it and be a good left fielder. Obviously, we all know that his bat plays at this level. He's still learning, and that's what I like about him. He doesn't think he has it all figured out. He wants to continue to learn and get better.

“So obviously, we are all disappointed that he's not going to be around. And we will see him pretty soon.”

Asked if such leadership is central to his role with the Phillies, Utley said:

"“When you are in the moment, when you are in a situation like that, it can be difficult to see the big picture. As you play this game and be around long enough you can, at some point, see the big picture. So he is a teammate and a good friend. We are locker-mates. I will be disappointed not to see him for a little while, but like I said, he will be OK.”


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