07/04/12 6:17 PM ET
In short time back, Utley looking good at plate
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
After missing most of the season because of chondromalacia in his left knee, Utley is hitting .273 (6-for-22) with two home runs, three RBIs, a .304 on-base percentage and a .545 slugging percentage in six games since rejoining the team last week.
"Things have gone probably as anticipated," Utley said following Wednesday's 9-2 victory over the Mets. "No worse than the first day, which is a good thing. It's all about trying to be as consistent as possible. Put a game plan together daily and try to execute it."
Utley's two-run homer in the seventh inning tied the game, 2-2.
"I feel better than I did last year," Utley said of the strength and condition of his legs.
Hamels meets with Amaro Jr., mum on conversation
NEW YORK -- Cole Hamels had changed out of his Phillies uniform and back into his street clothes when he headed toward the visitors' clubhouse doors late Tuesday night at Citi Field.
A clubhouse attendant stopped him before he reached the exit.
"Hey, Cole, Ruben would like to see you," he said.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and Hamels met privately following Tuesday's 11-1 loss to the New York Mets. It was the first time Amaro had a chance to speak with Hamels in person since multiple reports surfaced the Phillies are calling teams, gauging their interest in him as the organization prepares to be potential sellers before the July 31 Trade Deadline.
Asked about the meeting Wednesday, Amaro only would say, "It was a private discussion."
Hamels insisted the meeting had nothing to do with his current contract status -- he can become a free agent following the season -- or the reports he could be traded before the end of the month. He also said it was not about a contract offer.
"It was about something else," Hamels said. "It's funny, though. It makes sense."
The timing of the meeting seems more than coincidental. Amaro said earlier this week he is optimistic about signing Hamels to an extension, although there have been no indications a deal is near. Hamels should be able to fetch more than the five-year, $120 million deal Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies in Dec. 2010.
Lee was 32 when he signed his deal.
Hamels is 28.
Hamels was asked if the Phillies' rocky season -- they are on pace to lose more than 90 games after winning 102 last season -- has soured him on signing a multi-year extension with the Phillies, considering their prospects of winning in the future don't look as good as they might have a few months ago.
"No, not at all," he said. "I have a good idea they're going to be competitive. Knowing David [Montgomery] and the ownership and what Ruben is trying to do, they're trying to win now, not win in 10 years. Sometimes you don't get the best ingredients at one time, but they don't give up. That's the whole idea. I don't see them giving up."
Hamels said he understands why the Phillies are talking to teams about him.
"It's the game and the business of trying to stay good for the long haul," he said. "I think sometimes you have to take your lumps when you can, but in order to do that it's going to make you a better team in the long run. Teams try to keep building. Obviously, I'm one of the pawns."
But he also said he remains optimistic he can reach an agreement with the Phillies.
"I've always been optimistic," he said. "You never turn your back on people that believe in you. From drafting me with the medical issues that I had and even all the medical issues I had in the Minor Leagues, they still believed in me, still trusted me and kept me and pushed me. I've always been a more honorable guy than anything and I'll always stay that way. It's never something where you get bitter. I've never been that guy that's ever gotten bitter and used it against somebody."
Could a deal get done before the end of the season?
"I don't know," Hamels said. "I guess it's up to both of us."
Phillies look to break out of road losing skid
NEW YORK -- The Phillies entered Wednesday afternoon's game against the Mets at Citi Field trying to snap a seven-game losing streak on the road.
That included sweeps in Toronto and Miami and Tuesday's 11-1 loss to the Mets.
It is easy to see why the Phillies lost those games.
• They hit .206 with six home runs and 14 runs scored (2.0 per game).
• They had a 5.62 ERA (36 earned runs in 57 2/3 innings).
• Opponents are hitting .314 against them.
In short, it has been a full team effort.
• Chase Utley started at second base Wednesday afternoon. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Tuesday he was not certain if Utley would play a day game following a night game, considering he is coming back from chondromalacia in his left knee. It could be considered a good test for Utley, who is hoping to play regularly. Since he returned last week, he has been two days on and one off.
• Nothing seems to be going right for the Phillies, but they are successful at stealing bases. They have stolen 62 of 75 bases this season for an 82.7 percent success rate. That is the best percentage in the big leagues. The 62 stolen bases rank fourth.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.