Notes: Utley ready for primetime player?
Kendrick learning to make adjustments; Gordon pacing himself
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- "Are you getting ready for Fantasy Baseball?"That's the question Chase Utley asks in a series of commercials titled "Endless Drama" to promote fantasy baseball on ESPN.com. Utley, Torii Hunter, Jorge Posada and Hanley Ramirez appear in separate spots with stars from ABC's soap operas. Utley filmed his commercial in February on the set of "One Life to Live." He said it took 90 minutes. The focused second baseman portrays a waiter serving a cheating wife and her boyfriend -- ("All My Children's" Rebecca Budig and "One Life to Live's" John-Paul Lavoisier, respectively). As the two play fantasy baseball, Utley whips off a mask to reveal that he's really Budig's television husband, Cameron Mathison. Dramatic as a soap opera. "The chick and the dude at the table are having an affair, and the husband dresses up like me to catch them in the act," Utley excitedly explains, drawing a small crowd of teammates. "It doesn't matter. It was pretty cool." Though upset at having not seen the commercial -- which began airing Monday, and will run through March 31 -- teammates predicted the performance. "I bet he nailed it in one-to-three takes," said Ryan Howard, who spent four hours shooting a Subway commercial last year. "Chase is all business." "I'm trying to picture it," Shane Victorino said. "He's probably stone-faced, or maybe some side of him came out that we don't normally see. Nah, he's stone-faced." Which was it? "Stone-faced," Utley said. "I had to. The role dictated that, and I can't be any other way." Third-base coach Steve Smith, a childhood friend of actor Kurt Russell who's appeared in more than 75 films as an extra, worried for the industry. "I hope they didn't give him a lot of lines," Smith said. "But if they gave him the right line, like, 'What do you want?' or 'You're bothering me,' he'll be fine."
Changing: Kyle Kendrick surrendered more runs on Tuesday -- seven -- against the Braves than he did in any of his 20 outings last season.Consider it part of his initiation. "I haven't been hit like this in a long time," Kendrick said. "You have to forget about it. It's a good thing it's March." Kendrick's main lesson from Tuesday is the continued importance of making adjustments. To that end, he's refining his changeup as an effective compliment of his bread-and-butter sinker. Using that as a weapon against lefties is a goal this spring. "They know what I have and I need to protect what I have," Kendrick said. "That's mixing in my changeup. Obviously, you don't want to go out there today and feel useless. I have some stuff to work on." No curves: Tom Gordon endured a second rough outing, and saw his spring ERA climb to 16.20. He's not hurt. The 20-year veteran is merely pacing himself. Gordon said he's only thrown "five or six" curveballs this spring, as he typically builds up arm strength first. To that end, he said that feels better than it has in the past two years. "I felt good about how the fastball came out of my hand," Gordon said. "Now, it's fine-tuning the command. My arm strength is coming back. I hadn't been able to throw the ball with any velocity in a few years, especially early in camp, so that's a good sign. I think it will be another two or three outings before I start really using the curve." Lohse still available: With Kyle Lohse still available and believed to be seeking a one-year deal in the $4-$10 million range, the Phillies say they still aren't interested. The Phillies had offered Lohse a three-year, $21 million deal in the winter, but went in another direction when the pitcher's agent, Scott Boras, turned it down. The ship on a Phillies return has likely sailed. A front-office official said the team isn't interested. Philling in: Right-hander Francisco Rosario turned in an impressive 3 1/3 innings on Tuesday, recording four strikeouts and allowing two hits. ... Jimmy Rollins went 0-for-3 to drop his Spring Training average to .077. Coming up: Right-hander Brett Myers makes his second start of the spring in a split-squad game at Dunedin, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET, while J.D. Durbin starts the team's other game in Lakeland, Fla., vs. the Tigers, also at 1:05. They are opposed by two aces in Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander, respectively.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.