Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/6/12

Twice in the last 10 days, Chase Utley has taken groundballs at third base. It's an experiment that's very much in the infant stages, and earlier this week Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel shot down the likelihood of it materializing into something that could take place in a major league game this season.

"He's taking groundballs there, that's what he's doing," Manuel said. "(Heck), when I was a player, I played right field most of the time, and I'd take groundballs at shortstop, third, first. I'd take a lot of groundballs sometimes."

But the Phillies don't have an obvious candidate to play third base in 2013. Injury-plagued Placido Polanco, who turns this 37 this winter, has a $5.5 million option in his contract that's almost certainly not going to be picked up. Moreover, the Phils haven't had power at the third base position since Scott Rolen left town a decade ago.

Since being activated from the disabled list in late June, Utley has reconnected with his power stroke, which makes the possible move to third even more intriguing.

Utley hit his 10th home run of the season in Wednesday's 6-2 win in Cincinnati. And he has hit those 10 homers in 215 at-bats after hitting a career-low 11 home runs in 398 at-bats in 2011.

"He shows you his power is still there," Manuel said.

Utley homered in eight of his first 34 games this season, beginning with his first at-bat of 2012 on June 27 against Pittsburgh. His most recent home run was a two-run shot that turned a 4-0 lead into a rout against Chris Leake and the Reds, guiding the Phillies to a series win at Great American Ball Park.

"He finally hit one to center," Manuel said. "He's hit three or four balls hard to center in the last week that were caught right in front of the fence. He finally got one over today. ... Chase has been hitting into some tough luck."

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