South for the winter

Word out of Florida is so far so good. Utley’s keeping positive for being ready on opening day, after being on the field and throwing some balls, saying “it hasn’t bothered me whatsoever,” in reference to his hip that was operated on Nov. 24. The Phillies’ secondbaseman hasn’t pushed any limits, but the lack of pain has to be the most rewarding thing he’s got since, well, winning the World Series.

A new face on the diamond, Anthony Hewitt, is creating a little bit of early-season buzz. The 2008 first-round draft pick had a shaky debut at the rookie level, hitting .197 and striking out 55 times. Phillies management seems to remain high on the prospect and his reserve set of skills.

In the wake of their fairytale season, a few Phillies have been lending their celebrity to sell everything from sports foods (Utley) to Nike cleats (Rollins). Wonder where their mugs are going to turn up next. (Hopefully not anywhere near lists containing names like A-rod, Clemens or Bonds.)

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