Chase Utley, the 33 year-old second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies, is coming off a knee injury which limited him to only 103 games last season – a season in which his production greatly declined.
Utley hit a career-low 11 home runs after averaging 29 home runs per season from 2005 to 2009. Although age and injuries have contributed to Utley's inevitable decline, he says he feels much better this spring training than last.
"It feels significantly better. Last year it was very uncomfortable, especially the first week," Utley said. "Right now, I think I'm in a good place. The goal for me is to kind of stay in the same place and improve in small increments and not try to irritate it to the point where I'd have to slow down.
He credits his improving health to an off-season in which he was able to regain strength in his legs.
"I think there's no doubt that the things I was doing didn't allow me to strengthen my legs," he said. "But this offseason, I was able to strengthen them, maybe not quite as much as in the past, but they're definitely stronger than they were going into last year. My goal now is to maintain that. Ideally, it would be nice to make them stronger, but at the same time, I have to keep them loose and take it easy."
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