Dodgers’ Chase Utley to retire at season’s end
By Beth Harris
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chase Utley will retire from baseball at the end of this season, capping a 16-year career that included a World Series championship with Philadelphia and an elder statesman role with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The six-time All-Star said he’s leaving to spend more time with his wife and two young sons.
“I’m ready to be a full-time dad,” he said.
Utley announced his decision at a jammed news conference in the bowels of Dodger Stadium on Friday, with several of his teammates surprising him by crowding into the small, steamy room.
“I just want you guys to know that I’ve signed a five-year extension,” Utley deadpanned, drawing laughter from manager Dave Roberts, Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner, Alex Wood, Andrew Toles, Joc Pederson, Logan Forsythe and Ross Stripling.
Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw sat on the floor in a corner, with Matt Kemp, Rich Hill, Corey Seager, Austin Barnes, and Kenta Maeda joining him.
Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt looked on, while hitting coach Turner Ward used his phone to capture video.
The 2019 season would have been the final year of a $2 million, two-year contract for Utley.
The 39-year-old second baseman made his name with the Phillies, earning five All-Star berths and winning four Silver Slugger awards. He helped the team to a World Series title in 2008, combining with shortstop Jimmy Rollins as a standout double-play duo.
Utley has a .276 career average with 259 home runs. He is renowned for his base-stealing ability, with 153 steals in 175 attempts.
The Phillies traded Utley to the Dodgers in August 2015, and he transitioned into a role he described as a “part-time player.”
“I’m also a part-time strength coach, a part-time pitching coach, occasionally a part-time catching coach as well as a part-time general manager,” Utley said. “But the thing I’m having the most difficult time with is being a part-time dad. That’s really the reason I’m shutting it down because I’m ready to be a full-time dad.”
Utley said he has yet to tell his sons, 6-year-old Ben and 3-year-old Max.
“They’ve asked me a few times, ‘Dad, how much longer are you going to play? Why do you have to go to the field today?'” Utley said. “That conversation will come soon. I think it will be a good conversation.”
In 2015, Utley broke the leg of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada with a hard slide into second base in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. Utley was suspended for Games 3 and 4 of the series.
Utley has provided a veteran’s perspective and been influential in the clubhouse with the Dodgers’ young roster. But his role has been reduced from starter in 2016 to platoon player last year to part-time starter and pinch-hitter this season.
He has started 30 of 57 games so far, hitting .231 with 14 RBIs and one home run going into Friday night’s game against the Angels.
Utley will surely be feted when the Dodgers visit the Phillies from July 23-25. His former teammates from the 2008 championship team, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth, recently announced their retirements.
Born in nearby Pasadena, Utley played at Long Beach Poly High and UCLA.
Utley wrapped things up in 10 minutes, noting there was a team meeting in a few minutes and he hadn’t been late to one of those in his career.
And then, in keeping with his quiet, understated demeanor, he was gone.