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Phillies Notes: Deja vu for ailing Utley


Phillies Notes: Deja vu for ailing Utley HOUSTON - When Chase Utley fouled a ball off his right foot in the third inning of Friday night's game, he reacted in characteristic fashion, telling no one how badly it hurt.

After the game, though, the pain and swelling were enough to warrant disclosure to manager Charlie Manuel .

Utley was not in the lineup last night, after X-rays showed no fracture, according to Manuel.

The foot is "swollen up," Manuel said yesterday. "He's going to be out today. We'll see how it is tomorrow. Hit it right off his bone, man. If he'd have told me during the game, I might have done something about it. . . . It's hurting today."

On May 1, the New York Mets' Mike Pelfrey hit Utley on the same foot with a pitch. The second baseman tried to play through the injury, but when the foot did not heal quickly, he rested on May 4.

Utley batted a season-worst .253 in May, denying that his foot was the reason.

The infielder was not available in the clubhouse during the time it was open to reporters, but was at Minute Maid Park yesterday.

Coste speaks By the time the Phillies waived Chris Coste on June 10 and he became a Houston Astro, the catcher was expecting the move. What he never could understand was why the Phils considered him a less-than-stellar defender.

"It didn't surprise me they let me go," Coste said yesterday, reflecting on the apparent change in his role when the Phillies recalled Paul Bako and used Coste more as a pinch-hitter. "After four years, they never recognized that I was actually a way-above-average defensive catcher.

"When my role became righthanded pinch-hitter off the bench, and I wasn't doing well in that role, it made sense," he said. "But what I never did understand was that I lost my job as a backup catcher, because in my mind I didn't do anything to lose it."

The Phillies traded for catcher Ronny Paulino before spring training, but eventually flipped him to San Francisco for pitcher Jack Taschner . Soon after, they signed Bako. The organizational search for catching alternatives puzzled Coste.

"That's my disappointment," he said. "That's from the top down. It's not just the front office. Like last year, when Charlie would take me out in games when [ Brad ] Lidge came in the games . . . what that did was, as much as I respect Charlie - and I respect him as much as any Baseball person alive - it gave [ Carlos ] Ruiz this image of the best defensive catcher in Baseball.

"And we all know that he's awesome. But it also killed my reputation. He made people believe, even well-educated Baseball people, it made them think that, 'Oh, Coste can't block a Lidge slider.' "

When asked about Coste's comments, Manuel said that "both of them" - Bako and Coste - "were kind of our backup catcher. He must have had the wrong idea. Nobody ever told him he wasn't the backup catcher."

Manuel also said Coste was not an ideal bench player.

"I think he has to play to hit," Manuel said. "I wouldn't call him a real steady pinch-hitter."

Coste, 36, had a .203 average in 79 at-bats with Houston entering last night's game.

"I know that this next month of the season is going to make a huge impact on my career," he said. "If I continue to struggle, honestly, it could be my last year in the big leagues."

Victorino has sore knee Centerfielder Shane Victorino left last night's game in the ninth inning with swelling in a knee. He would not comment on the injury afterward.

Contact staff writer Andy Martino at 215-854-4874 or amartino@phillynews.com.

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Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 6, 2009

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