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On a tear, Utley gets breather for series finale

Phillies veteran batting .500 with five RBIs in seven games since coming off DL

MILWAUKEE -- After starting the first two games of the series against the Brewers, second baseman Chase Utley was out of the starting lineup for the Phillies for the finale Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.

Utley's absence will undoubtedly further fuel the trade speculation that's surrounded him of late.

However, Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin revealed his intentions to give Utley the series finale off following Saturday night's 4-2 loss to the Brewers.

"Just to be cautious," Mackanin said. "He's playing so well I don't want to take any chances."

After missing 37 games due to right ankle inflammation, Utley started six (and appeared in seven) of Philadelphia's eight games entering Sunday since he was activated from the disabled list Aug. 7. The 36-year-old was batting .500 (13-for-26) with a home run, five doubles and five RBIs over that span.

Utley hasn't started more than two consecutive games since his return, as he has followed the pattern of being out of the starting lineup for the third game of a series after starting the first two games.

With Utley and rookie third baseman Maikel Franco out, Cesar Hernandez moved over to second base with Andres Blanco playing third base Sunday.

Andrew Gruman is a contributor to
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