Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Sticking With Hot Hand In Chase Utley
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

At the time of re-signing Chase Utley to a one-year, $7 million contract last December, it appeared the Los Angeles Dodgers’ plan was to platoon the veteran at second base with Kiké Hernandez. Howie Kendrick rejected the club’s one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer, and there was little to suggest he’d return in 2016.

A quiet offseason then unfolded for Kendrick and he ultimately re-signed with the Dodgers on a two-year pact. Although Kendrick spent all of last season playing second base, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts indicated the 32 year old would see time at third base.

The same expected to hold true for Utley, who did play some third in 2015 once Kendrick was reinstated from the disabled list. However, largely due to Kendrick beginning the year on the DL, Utley to this point has only played second base.

He’s taken full advantage of the opportunity, flashing a steady glove and providing a spark as the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter. According to Ken Gurnick of, Roberts for now intends to continue starting Utley on a regular basis:

“I told him before the season, ‘Mark my words, you will play a lot.’ With injuries early to Ethier, Slykie and Howie, we’ve given him more at-bats, but he was going to play no matter what. Right now, we need to ride him. As we get healthier, we can taper back a little bit. Chase keeps himself in excellent shape.”

Injuries to Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke have forced Kendrick into emergency duty in left field. Prior to this season, he last played the position somewhat extensively in 2011 for the Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim.

Meanwhile, Utley has appeared in 16 of the Dodgers’ 18 games entering play on Sunday, making 14 starts. He’s batting .317/.377/.460 with five doubles, two triples and three RBIs.