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Utley says he'll retire after 2018 season

Veteran second baseman 'ready to be a full-time dad'
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- For almost 13 seasons, Chase Utley was a vital part of the Phillies' family. For most of the past four, Utley has been part of the Dodgers' family. After this year, he's going home to his family.

In a Dodger Stadium news conference on Friday, Utley confirmed he would retire at the end of this season, ending what he called a "pretty unique" career that included a World Series title in 2008 and six All-Star selections as a Phillies icon before the former UCLA star returned to his native California for a less iconic role.

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LOS ANGELES -- For almost 13 seasons, Chase Utley was a vital part of the Phillies' family. For most of the past four, Utley has been part of the Dodgers' family. After this year, he's going home to his family.

In a Dodger Stadium news conference on Friday, Utley confirmed he would retire at the end of this season, ending what he called a "pretty unique" career that included a World Series title in 2008 and six All-Star selections as a Phillies icon before the former UCLA star returned to his native California for a less iconic role.

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Best moments of Utley's career

"I transitioned to a part-time player, something new for me, but I took it in stride," said Utley. "Also, a part-time strength coach, part-time pitching coach, occasionally part-time catching coach as well as a part-time general manager. The thing I'm having the most difficult time with is being a part-time dad. So that's really the reason I'm shutting it down. I'm ready to be a full-time dad."

Utley said he hadn't yet told sons Benjamin (age 6) or Maxwell Chase (3). He'll probably save them the joke he told a packed conference room, which included every teammate and uniform personnel.

"I just want you guys to know I've signed a five-year extension here," Utley said to open the 10-minute session.

Manager Dave Roberts called Utley "probably the most well-respected guy in our clubhouse." Of all the teammates who have made Utley a role model, probably no Dodger compares to Enrique Hernandez, who calls Utley "Dad" and tried to make the best of the news.

"He adopted me," said Hernandez. "One of the reasons he said he was retiring was to spend more time with me."

Utley said he came to grips with his decision a month ago, and that he is comfortable and excited about it.

"I'm no spring chicken," Utley said. "There's a lot of things letting me know it's time. The main reason is to spend time with my family."

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Utley has been reduced to a bench role this year, since left-handed-hitting Max Muncy has the ability to play second base, in addition to third and first. Earlier in the season, Utley shared time at second base with Logan Forsythe.

"Going from making several All-Star teams to being a part-time player kind of wrenches your pride a little bit," Utley said. "My goal, the reason I came here, was to win a championship. I didn't want to get in the way of that. If I'm part of it, great. If not, I'm still happy."

In 16 years, Utley has hit .276 with 259 home runs, 1,025 RBIs, four Silver Slugger Awards and a reputation as one of the greatest clubhouse presences in the game. In 57 games this year, he's hitting .231 with one homer and 14 RBIs. He started on Thursday night and went 0-for-1 with a walk and was hit by a pitch.

Last offseason, Utley signed a two-year, $2 million contract, although many suspected that the second year was designed to help the club reduce its 2018 financial commitment by $1 million to help stay under the luxury tax threshold.

"For me, this is a no-brainer Hall of Famer," said Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who traded for Utley in 2015. "Doing this now, Chase wanted to be able to focus on helping the 2018 Dodgers win a World Series. There's nothing that would cement his Hall of Fame candidacy more than that."

Utley thanked Philadelphia fans for the support that "brought that confidence out of me -- regardless if I was 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, they were always cheering for me, always supporting me. In my opinion, that helped me become a better player." The Dodgers visit Philadelphia later this month.

Utley said he has "enjoyed every second" with the Dodgers because of the way he was accepted by teammates and staff.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Chase Utley