It wasn’t long ago when critics began presuming that Chase Utley was possibly breaking down into early retirement because of chronic knee issues.
In fact, it was spring training 2012 when Utley’s career was deemed up in the air.
Now, Utley is showing he can stay healthy — thanks to a new training regimen — and that he’s still one of the more productive players at his position in baseball.
On Tuesday, Utley drilled his second three-run homer in as many nights to back Roy Halladay in the Phillies’ 6-4 win over the Marlins.
(To read more about Halladay's possible last home start as a Phillie, click here.)
This has been a season of very few highlights, but how about Utley?
The 34-year-old, hitting .280, has notched his most home runs (18) and RBIs (66) since 2009, and owns the third-best OPS (.831) among MLB second basemen behind only New York Yankee Robinson Cano and St. Louis Cardinal Matt Carpenter.
Not too shabby.
Over his last 12 games, Utley is batting .395 (17 for 43) with three doubles, two homers and 14 RBIs. Aside from a rib injury (which cost him 28 games in the first half) that seemed more freakish than a reoccurring problem, Utley looks not only like an everyday guy, but also one of the best of the best at second base — labels many thought he’d never wear again.
He’s done. Don’t re-sign him. Thanks for the memories, Chase.
Many blurted or shared those same feelings from spring 2012 to now.
And I'd bet Utley hasn’t forgotten.