Braves' broadcasters call Chase Utley, Dodgers 'unprofessional'

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Braves' broadcasters call Chase Utley, Dodgers 'unprofessional'

Updated: Monday, 9:23 p.m.

I'm not sure anyone has ever accused Chase Utley of being "unprofessional."

Until the Braves broadcasters bashed Utley and the Dodgers on Saturday because they say he didn't take batting practice in the appropriate attire ...

Joe Simpson, who played in the big leagues from 1975 to 1983, had a major issue with the Dodgers' BP session.

"You know that I grew up in the Dodger organization and certainly was taught how to play professional baseball and do things the right way," Simpson began. "I want you to look at some things that were going on today in batting practice here with the Dodgers. What do you see? T-shirts. You see Chase Utley with no socks and pants up over his knees, and a T-shirt. This was prevalent with their whole team. And I think about fans that come to SunTrust Park who are Dodgers fans and want to see their players. They had no idea who any of them were."

Let's stop for a second. It's hard to imagine that there are people out there who would have no idea who Chase Utley, or Manny Machado, or Matt Kemp were unless they had their name on the back of their shirts. 

Simpson continued, making it a point to specifically target Utley.

"Chase Utley, I've had nothing but respect for him his whole career," Simpson said. "I think he's a great player, thought he always played the game the right way. That was an embarrasment what he had on today during batting practice."

By the way, Utley was wearing a KCancer shirt in a show of support for Strike Out Cancer Day and the Jason Motte Foundation. Motte, a former big-league reliever, started the foundation in 2010 to provide support for cancer patients, and the first Strike Out Cancer Day was in 2014. Those shirts will be worn around major league baseball on Sep. 2, which is Strike Out Cancer Day.

Like so many, Utley's teammate, Kike Hernandez, has a personal connection with cancer — his dad is a cancer survivor. Utley was wearing a version of the KCancer shirt that Hernandez modeled. Unsurprisingly, it seems like it's been selling pretty well since Saturday night.

Also, the connection between playing the game the right way and what you wear in batting practice is ...? 

Simpson didn't seem to have much of an answer, though his broadcast partner, Chip Caray, chimed in with an interesting point.

"You think of all the merchandising major league baseball does with their practice uniform and their batting practice jerseys," Caray said. "It's called a uniform for a reason."

As you know if you were at Citizens Bank Park last week, major league baseball has sold a decent number of Chase Utley uniforms over his 16-year career. I'm not sure Utley or the Dodgers are losing many fans or possible BP jersey sales because of what they wear before the game.

Simpson wrapped it up with a classic appeal to tradition: 

I think of Walter Alston, even Tommy Lasorda. Walter Alston would roll over in his grave if he saw that. Walter O'Malley would never allow such things. And I know it's a different age, a different era. But that's a complete lack of respect for the fans and for the game, and as I said, an embarrasment. Bobby Cox never allowed anyone in a Braves uniform to take the field for batting practice or anything else until they had their uniform on. And for batting practice, you had to have your batting practice uniform on that has your name on it, so the fans know who you are as you're taking batting practice.

That sort of argument — the kind that insists the old way is the right way, and everything else is disrespectful and unacceptable — draws more people away from baseball than whatever the players wear during batting practice.

By the way, the Braves lost their third straight game to the Dodgers on Saturday, 5-1. 

Check out the full video of Simpson and Caray's exchange here

Hernandez, who calls Utley "dad," responded on Twitter to Simpson and Caray's comments.

On Monday, Simpson apologized for his remarks.

Phillies and Nationals postponed, will make game up in doubleheader Wednesday

Phillies and Nationals postponed, will make game up in doubleheader Wednesday

WASHINGTON — After a rain delay of 2 hours and 55 minutes, the Phillies-Nationals game Monday night was postponed and will be made up Wednesday as part of a split doubleheader (1:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m.).

As a result, Jake Arrieta's start will be pushed back to Tuesday. He will be pitching on six days rest. 

There was no rain or light rain for the first 90 minutes of Monday's delay, but two hard cells hit Nationals Park and fans began flocking to the exits around 9 p.m.

Weather seems to impact the Phillies every time they come to Washington.

From a Phillies perspective, at least all four games will be played this week. Had the game been postponed to a later date, the Nationals could have skipped No. 5 starter Erick Fedde and just gone Patrick Corbin-Max Scherzer-Stephen Strasburg. 

The Phils also probably appreciate not having to play Roman Quinn on a wet, potentially dangerous field in his first game back from injury.

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Injury updates on 7 Phillies, including J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce

Injury updates on 7 Phillies, including J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce

WASHINGTON — Some updates on the wounded Phillies, who not only have eight players on the injured list but also have a shorter bench than usual with two everyday starters banged up.

CF Roman Quinn

Quinn was activated off the IL Monday and will bat sixth in Monday's lineup against tough Nationals lefty Patrick Corbin. Formerly a switch-hitter, Quinn will now bat exclusively from the right side.

Because he has been hurt so frequently, the Phillies will be cautious with Quinn. The tentative plan is to use him off the bench Tuesday as the Phillies pay attention to how he bounces back from the start Monday.

Quinn can still provide value for this team, especially with the collection of injuries to centerfielders.

OF Jay Bruce

Bruce (hamstring) was out of Monday's lineup as a precaution — and also because Corbin was the opponent — but will likely be available to pinch-hit.

C J.T. Realmuto

Realmuto got a second straight day off Monday as he recovers from taking a foul ball to the groin midway through Saturday's game.

Realmuto caught the first 105 innings in the month of June and was due for a day off but didn't want it to come like this.

"We want him to be feeling himself," manager Gabe Kapler said. "Doesn't mean that he's going to feel perfect by the time we put him back in the lineup but we definitely want to be sensitive to the fact that he's still a little bit sore. I don't think it's so much about him re-injuring the area as it is not doing anything else that might cause a problem."

RHP Tommy Hunter

As expected, Hunter (flexor strain) will begin a rehab assignment Monday night with Class A Clearwater. He isn't too far away from making his season debut.

LHP Adam Morgan

Morgan (flexor strain) threw a bullpen session Sunday for the second time in four days. Last week, Kapler indicated Morgan may be able to return this upcoming weekend. There should be more clarity tonight or Tuesday on his status.

RHP Jerad Eickhoff

Eickhoff was placed on the injured list Monday with biceps tendinitis, a day after allowing five runs and two more homers in one inning of relief.

Eickhoff first felt the nagging injury in Milwaukee on May 24 but tried to play through it, as most guys do, for better or for worse.

"Just been something that's been bugging him a little bit and not allowing him to get loose the way he wants to get loose," Kapler said. "Out of respect for one of our hardest workers and most prepared individuals, it makes sense to really pay attention to that and protect him and get him back in his best physical baseball condition."

It's the second Phillies injury this week in which a player tried to play through pain and had to miss some time because of it. Bruce first felt his hamstring tightness "three or four days" before exiting Saturday's game, according to the player.

Would Kapler rather his guys tell him when they first start feeling pain?

"I understand what it's like to be a player and want to play through things that feel nagging," he said. "These guys are professionals, they all want as many opportunities as they can possibly get. We talk a lot about the more communication, the better. I also understand the position our players are in."

OF Adam Haseley

Haseley remains out with a groin injury but is making some progress. He took batting practice and shagged fly balls Monday in D.C.

The next step would be practicing baseball-like movements such as bursting out of the batter's box and simulating a stolen base attempt.

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