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Sunday, May 22, 2005

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Jason: I cannot agree about how to break in Utley. As I have said ad nauseum, how is he going to learn to hit lefties sitting on the bench? The same thing goes for hitting breaking balls. If they want him to be their every day second baseman they have to stick him in the lineup and let him work on his weaknesses. This business of one day in and one day out won't accomplish anything. If he fails to learn to hit lefties and breaking balls, he will be an average hitter with some pop who hits righties well period. I have felt for a long time he can look awfully bad for two or three at-bats, half swinging and getting fooled badly only to come back and stroke the ball hard in his next appearance. Regular at bats against all kinds of pitching will benefit him. And he is an intense player who goes out all the time. He wants to win and he wants to play well.

As for David Bell, no one, least of all me, faults him for his effort. He is a true gamer. But he is an average fielder at best and over his career a slightly better than average hitter. If that's what the Phillies are willing to settle for at a position that has historically been a power position not only for this team but for teams generally and which has to be a strong position in terms of fielding, then Bell should keep his job. If not, and if Polanco's power figures are insufficient (his other attributes would fit the bill fine), then go out and get another third baseman....along with the other holes they have to fill.

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