Will Cesar stick at 2B when Utley returns?
Hernandez has played well in veteran's absence
PHILADELPHIA -- Now that Pete Mackanin is the Phillies' interim manager the remainder of the season, he will be making some important decisions the rest of the way.
Like, who plays second base once Chase Utley returns from the disabled list?
Mackanin had no update Tuesday afternoon on Utley, who was scheduled to have a cortisone injection in his right ankle last week. But he said Cesar Hernandez is earning the right to play more the rest of the season.
"I would like to think that Cesar has proven that he deserves a chance to be the everyday second baseman," Mackanin said. "That remains to be seen. I don't know. I don't want to get ahead of myself. Let's just wait to see when Chase is healthy and how he feels and we'll go from there."
Hernandez has hit .436 (17-for-39) with four doubles, seven RBIs and a 1.016 OPS in his last 10 games. He was hitting .277 with 10 doubles, one home run, 16 RBIs and a .730 OPS in 172 plate appearances entering Tuesday. Utley is hitting .179 with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs, 25 RBIs and a .532 OPS in 249 plate appearances.
Utley also has a $15 million club option for 2016 that automatically vests if he reaches 500 plate appearances. But depending on how much time he misses, the option might no longer be an issue upon his return.
"When you see part-time players and perhaps at times they're not doing as well as you'd like them to do, you can see now the benefit, obviously, of playing on a daily basis," Mackanin said about Hernandez. "Cesar has been fantastic. We always felt he had it in him. It's been a long process. I think he's making a good statement for himself in the future."
Said Hernandez: "When you play every day, you kind of get used to seeing things. Now that I am playing every day, I am staying comfortable."