Jordan Hall

Chase Utley will retire at end of the season

Chase Utley will retire at end of the season

Updated: 9:31 p.m.

"The Man" will be calling it a day … effective at the end of the 2018 season.

Chase Utley will retire at the end of the season, he announced in a press conference Friday night. He is ready to be a "full-time dad," he said.

Utley, 39, had one year left on his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has two sons — Benjamin, who is 6 years old, and Maxwell, 3 years old.

"The thing I'm having the most difficult time with is being a part-time dad," Utley said. "That's really the reason why I'm shutting it down because I'm ready to be a full-time dad."

Utley said he had not yet told his boys.

"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 with a smile. "That conversation will come soon. I think it will be a good conversation."

Everyone knows why No. 26 became a legend in the Delaware Valley. The all-out hustle and blue-collar approach endeared him to fans. It also didn't hurt that he produced some of the organization's most iconic moments while playing an integral role in the club's golden era from 2007-11 — five straight NL East titles, two NL pennants, a World Series crown and a franchise-record 102-win season.

"Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies, got a chance to play in the big leagues with them for a long time," Utley said. "Played in front of some amazing fans."

Utley was traded to the Dodgers in August 2015 as the Phillies were in full rebuild mode. With the Dodgers, his childhood team, he has left an immeasurable impact on the clubhouse and has played in the playoffs the past three seasons.

With the Phillies, though, is where he truly left his mark. Among the franchise's all-time leaders, Utley ranks first in hit by pitches (173), second in WAR (61.8), fifth in doubles (346), sixth in home runs (233), seventh in RBIs (916) and ninth in hits (1,623).

Not one for attention, Utley was happy to make this announcement now.

"I'll be at ease a little bit more," he said. "I can kind of go into my last chapter of my baseball career with enthusiasm and excitement, but most of all, a clear mind."

Utley's final trip to Philly is right around the corner as the Dodgers will be visiting the Phillies on July 23-25.

When he returned to Philly for the first time as a Dodger on Aug. 17, 2016, the standing ovation was surreal. He's received cheers every time he's been back since.

This time, Citizens Bank Park will be even more electric.

More on 'The Man'

• Phillies have World Series heroes Utley and Lidge on their minds

• Now is a fun time to look back at Utley's history of tormenting Mets

• Fans react to news of Chase Utley's retirement

• 26 times Chase Utley was The Man

• This is such a Chase Utley milestone

Report: Flyers sign RFA Danick Martel to 1-year contract

Report: Flyers sign RFA Danick Martel to 1-year contract

General manager Ron Hextall is starting to take care of his restricted free agents.

The Flyers re-signed forward Danick Martel to a one-year, two-way contract worth $715,000, according to a report Thursday night by Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.

Earlier in the day, the Flyers re-signed RFA defenseman Reece Willcox (see story). Last Saturday, the Flyers avoided arbitration with goalie Alex Lyon, who inked a two-year deal (see story)

The Flyers now have four restricted free agents left unsigned: Taylor Leier, Robert Hagg, Anthony Stolarz and Tyrell Goulbourne. Leier filed for arbitration last Thursday (see story).

Martel, who earned $800,000 last season, made his NHL debut in 2017-18 and finished with no points over four games. The Flyers called up the 5-foot-8, 162-pounder in late November looking for a spark during their 10-game losing streak.

He showed some flashes of his dynamic ability and registered six shots in limited ice time.

"He's been a good player the last couple of years, but this year, he's clearly taken a step," Hextall said when the Flyers brought up Martel from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. "He's a dangerous player when he's on the ice. That's a good thing."

The 23-year-old scored a career-high 25 goals last year in 59 regular-season games with the Phantoms, his third full AHL campaign. He also matched his personal best in points with 40 and was a plus-16 for the season.

Martel, an undrafted product, will more than likely open the 2018-19 season with the Phantoms but is a sleeper given his versatility to play either the wing or center. He has a scoring pedigree, having put up 20 or more goals three times in the AHL while amassing 102 points (48 goals, 54 assists) his final junior season in 2014-15.

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Flyers prospect Carter Hart says so long to Twitter, hello to pro life

Flyers prospect Carter Hart says so long to Twitter, hello to pro life

By the day, even by the hour, Carter Hart looks and sounds more and more like a professional.

He's worked with a sports psychologist to tackle the mentality of goaltending.

He's noticeably stronger and his dietary habits are impressive.

His hockey résumé is in tip-top condition.

He turns 20 years old in August and will no longer look like a pro in 2018-19.

He will be one — and already with some added preparation.

"I actually just deleted my Twitter the other day because there's no point in all that," Hart said a week and a half ago at Flyers development camp. "You see a lot of news and stuff, and whether it's positive or negative, you just don't want to hear that stuff. For me, I just try to stay away from it and worry about what I'm doing and where I'm at right now."

A wise move by a kid who exudes wisdom, a precociousness that has Flyers fans gaga over his future, which is nearing. The 2016 second-round draft pick seems destined for his first AHL season but will fight for an NHL job come September.

"I want to be a Philadelphia Flyer next year," Hart said. "That's my goal."

At the junior level, he showed he's ready for his next challenge. He set records with the WHL's Everett Silvertips and put up a staggering 1.60 goals-against average and .947 save percentage in 2017-18.

While those numbers are nice and shiny, Hart will be the first to point out the stark difference between junior and pro hockey. 

"In juniors, you have guys that are 16 years old that some of them are just hitting puberty now," Hart said. "In pros, you're dealing with men. So you're going from playing with boys to men, so obviously it's going to be a jump up but I think you just have to adjust and adapt to everything."

If there's a prospect to bank on doing so, it's Hart. The readiness factor goes beyond the numbers with the netminder.

"People that haven't met him and don't work with him day in and day out just see what he does on the ice, but for me, it's that whole maturity and professionalism that he's already completely grasped," Everett general manager Garry Davidson said to NBC Sports Philadelphia in May. "Because there are guys his age that are going to the pro game that are going to have to learn all of those things and some of them will never learn it and will come up short. But he's got that already going for him."

Hart will use it throughout the summer and especially during the fall when he's back in Voorhees, New Jersey, for training camp. He's aware of the situation all around him — from the number of goalies in the club's picture to Flyers fans calling his name.

Aware, but not focused on it.

"I just have to worry about doing my job and going out there and playing and performing," he said. "Coming to camp in September, my job is to just stop the puck. The only thing that really matters is what I think of myself. I can't worry about what the staff thinks, what management thinks, what other people think, what fans think — I just have to worry about what I think as soon as I step out on that ice."

Hart has that down.

And he understands his life will soon be different.

"You're going to be on your own pretty much completely for laundry, eating, groceries," Hart said. "I've talked to a lot of people and that's the biggest transition from junior to pro is not having a billet. I know my billet Parker Fowlds is probably the best there is."

Fowlds won't miss Hart on Twitter.

"He doesn't even know what Twitter is," the goalie said with a laugh.


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