Chase Utley has been a Major Leaguer for 13 seasons and on Monday night, he did something for the first time in his career. Utley started at third base for the Los Angeles Dodgers, marking his debut at the position.
He has now played in 1,575 games and one at third base. After the game, he talked about the experience. “It was OK after the first ground ball,” Utley said. “After I got that out of the way I felt more comfortable as the game went on. I was a little anxious.”
The Dodgers gave Utley the ball from his first grounder at the spot and he thought it was amusing. It was pretty funny, it was cool,” he said. “It was probably all done as a joke, but I’ll keep it.”
Utley has been working at the position since being acquired by the Dodgers in anticipation of Howie Kendrick’s return as everyday second baseman. Don Mattingly had said that the veteran infielder was improving in his workouts and with Justin Turner injured, it presented the right time for the move. Utley went into more detail about the experience.
“Obviously, game speed is a little bit different,” he remarked. “You have your time clock in your head as a second baseman and it’s a little bit different at third base. The ball is hit a little bit harder and gets to you sooner, so you have a little bit more time, but it’s a longer throw. So you kind of have to make some adjustments on the fly. I feel like I made those but I still have plenty of room for improvement.”
The 36-year-old wouldn’t answer whether he could play the spot in the postseason, saying the team needed to make it first. He did add that he will play wherever the team asks him to. Utley has now played second base, first base and third base in his time with the Dodgers.