Cesar Hernandez is on a mission to take the second baseman job from Chase Utley. (Philly.com Photo)
With the recent shakeups throughout the Phillies organization, could their second basemen be next?
At Tuesday’s press conference, Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin had no update about Chase Utley, who had a cortisone injection in his right ankle last week. One thing the skipper did confirm, however, was Cesar Hernandez is earning a chance to play more throughout the rest of the season.
“I would like to think that Cesar has proven that he deserves a chance to be the everyday second baseman,” Mackanin said. “That remains to be seen. I don’t know. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Let’s just wait to see when Chase is healthy and how he feels and we’ll go from there.”
Utley is far from the player he was when he lead the Phils to back-to-back World Series in 2008 and 2009. The aging second baseman has had quite a few injuries over the past couple years causing a decline of his game
Entering Tuesday, Hernandez has hit .436 (17-for-39) with four doubles, seven RBIs and a 1.016 OPS in his last 10 games. In 172 plate appearances, he was hitting .277 with 10 doubles, one home run, 16 RBIs and a .730 OPS.
Utley on the other hand is hitting .179 with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs, 25 RBIs and a .532 OPS in 249 plate appearances this season. The second baseman also has a $15 million club option for 2016 that automatically vests if he reaches 500 plate appearances, but depending on how much time he misses, the option might no longer be an issue upon his return from the disabled list.
“When you see part-time players and perhaps at times they’re not doing as well as you’d like them to do, you can see now the benefit, obviously, of playing on a daily basis,” Mackanin said about Hernandez. “Cesar has been fantastic. We always felt he had it in him. It’s been a long process. I think he’s making a good statement for himself in the future.”
Said Hernandez: “When you play every day, you kind of get used to seeing things. Now that I am playing every day, I am staying comfortable.”