Dodgers Rumors: Chase Utley Asked To Be Intentionally Hit In Order To Deliver Message To Teammate
Recap: Chase Utley Gets Last Laugh In Dodgers’ Blowout Win Over Mets
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

After trading for Chase Utley in August 2015, the Los Angeles Dodgers went on to re-sign him to a one-year deal that December. Utley had made a minimal impact on the field during the second half of the season, but Los Angeles valued his leadership and intangibles.

Although Utley was expected to fill a utility role off the bench, he wound up serving as the Dodgers’ everyday second baseman and primary leadoff hitter. The veteran fared well early, though eventually couldn’t withstand the rigors of playing on a daily basis.

The Dodgers nonetheless remained interested in re-signing Utley this offseason. Prior to his reported agreeing to a one-year contract, Clayton Kershaw and others were said to have lobbied the front office in support of Utley’s potential return.

No longer the same caliber of player he was for the Philadelphia Phillies earlier this decade, Utley nonetheless is praised for his preparation, focus and relentless style of play.

According to MLB insider Peter Gammons, that entailed asking an opponent to intentionally hit him so that Utley could deliver a message to his teammate:

Coaches tell the story of a game in which the Dodgers had a big lead in the top of the eighth inning when one younger, enthusiastic teammate stole second base, which ticked off the opposition. When Utley got to the plate in the ninth, he told the opposing catcher to have the pitcher drill him. Then his teammate would understand there are consequences for showing up the opposition.

In reviewing Dodgers games from last season with the details mentioned above, there weren’t many results. Even when a stolen base occurred, there was not an instance where Utley was subsequently plunked. He otherwise was hit by a pitch 11 times, which was most on the team.

Of course, a near-hit by pitch last season against the New York Mets is what may resonate with many. Noah Syndergaard buzzed the back of Utley’s jersey with a 99 mph fastball and was ejected. Utley, didn’t show any emotion or reaction, and later hit a solo home run and grand slam to lead the Dodgers to a blowout victory at Citi Field.

The 38-year-old reportedly accepted less money to re-sign with the Dodgers, which Kenley Jansen and Sergio Romo are also said to have done this winter.