Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Not Surprised By Chase Utley’s Success
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In what was somewhat of a surprise, the Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed Chase Utley to a one-year, $7 million contract during the offseason. Los Angeles traded for Utley last August but his impact on the field was minimal.

At the time of bringing the veteran back the Dodgers said Utley was likely to play multiple positions. That notion was further validated when Howie Kendrick was re-signed to a two-year contract.

However, Utley’s services were needed at second base as Kendrick began the year on the disabled list, and the 37-year-old has yet to relinquish the starting job. What’s more, Utley has served as the club’s leadoff hitter.

“This is kind of what I expected,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Utley’s success this season.

“I’ve seen him from the other side for many years and I knew every time he steps foot in the batter’s box, he competes. At the top of the order, to get that quality at-bat each time, four or five times a game, is important for an offense.”

Utley swung a hot bat at the outset of the season, cooled in June and July, but has seen an upswing this month. That’s despite battling a nagging foot injury throughout August.

Overall this season, the veteran is batting .259/.330/.399 with 11 home runs, 41 RBIs and 66 runs scored in 108 games. “I didn’t have expectations as far as numbers, but the way he’s performed isn’t a surprise,” Roberts said.

He added Utley’s success as a leadoff hitter is very much tied to his approach. “Hitting leadoff is a mentality, you’ve got to be very unselfish. And I thought he could handle that, too.”