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Monday, March 21, 2011

Castillo’s Arrival a Bad Sign for Phils

Ok, I’m kind of nervous now.

The Phillies have signed former Mets second baseman Luis Castillo.

The key words there are “second baseman.” I’m not breaking any news with the thought that the move is a strong indication that Chase Utley is likely going to miss significant time this year. Utley has patellar tendinitis (a bad knee) and has yet to play a spring training game. At least a couple people seemingly “in the know” have suggested Utley could miss the season.

I doubt I’m the first to suggest that the Phillies aren’t winning a World Series this year without Utley, the Four Aces be damned. They didn’t win one last year because their bats went cold in the playoffs with Utley. Without him, I think they are in serious trouble.

With Jason Werth in Washington, Ryan Howard might not see a good pitch all season with Utley out. There’s just no one else in the lineup to fear. Possibly dropping Jimmy Rollins in the lineup could help, but I doubt it would be enough.

A season that once looked full of promise now seems in some jeopardy. I’m not ready to jump off the Walt Whitman Bridge in terms of life as a Phillies fan. Castillo only got a minor league contract, which means this isn’t a definitive sign on Utley. And watching this pitching should still be amazing.

But at some point, the Phillies are going to have to win games that aren’t 2-1 or 1-0. When that time comes, the Phillies and fans better hope Chase Utley is in the lineup.

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