NL East Notes: Utley, Amaro, Rizzo, Braves

The Phillies received some more bad injury luck today when the team announced that Chase Utley was going to the 15-day DL with a Grade 1 oblique strain.  While the injury isn't considered particularly serious, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told media (including that the team was going to be cautious in order to keep Utley's oblique from bothering him throughout the season.  Utley has battled a number of injuries over the last few seasons and going on the DL yet again is likely to hurt his free agent stock this winter — at the very least, it will drop him a few spots in the next edition of Tim Dierkes' 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings

Here are some items from around the NL East…

  • On Wednesday, before Utley's DL stint, Amaro said he saw his team as buyers leading up to the trade deadline since he felt his team was still in the race,'s Todd Zolecki reports.  Amaro did warn that the decision to buy or sell at the deadline was coming soon.  "The real question is: How long can you wait? Right now, we're willing to wait, because no one is crazy and running away with it. We're willing to wait, and how long we'll wait is a decision I'll have to make," Amaro said.
  • Amaro also commented on manager Charlie Manuel, reiterating that the team wouldn't look at Manuel's status until after the season.  This is the 69-year-old Manuel's last year under contract as the Phillies skipper.
  • Philadelphia's numerous injury problems give the Phillies the look of a seller at the deadline, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal opines in his latest Hot Corner video.  Rosenthal notes that the team would at least listen on offers for "virtually any Phillie" on the roster in order to clear money off the payroll and obtain young talent.
  • The Nationals aren't living up to their status as World Series favorites, but GM Mike Rizzo said the team isn't planning any major roster shake-ups to get on track during the season, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports.  "I think we put together a roster that we feel is going to contend….We feel we have the roster in place to win a lot of games," Rizzo said.  "We felt that in Spring Training, we felt that in the winter, and I still have all the confidence in the world that this is the team that’s going to play deep into the season.”
  • Eric O'Flaherty is the seventh Braves pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery in the last five years, leading David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to wonder if the team needs to re-examine their methods of using and developing their pitchers.
  • In other NL East news from earlier today on MLBTR, the Marlins designated Jon Rauch for assignment, the Nationals could be interested in hiring Don Mattingly as Davey Johnson's successor, and we shared a collection of notes about the Mets.

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