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Phillies utility IF Wilson Valdez

August 23 Camden Courier-Post

Charlie Manuel has used his regular lineup just seven times this season because of injuries, but could have united his starters once again Sunday with his top eight field players healthy.

But the Phillies manager decided to give second baseman Chase Utley a day off. Wilson Valdez, his replacement, made sure he didn’t regret it.

Valdez‘ bases-loaded single up the middle in the sixth inning scored two runs and gave the Phillies a 4-0 edge in their eventual 6-0 triumph over the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.

“I felt like Valdez’ hit with the bases loaded was a big one for us,” Manuel said. “It gave us some cushion.” Valdez began the season in Triple A before the barrage of injuries, beginning with shortstop Jimmy Rollins, brought him here.

His solid play kept him here.

In his last 17 games, Valdez is 17-for-57 with six RBI and has hiked his average from .230 to .245. It was his 69th start of the season.

“He’s done a fantastic job,” Manuel said. “He’s done everything we’ve ever asked him to do and more.”

Utley had returned to the lineup Tuesday after a month and a half out from thumb surgery. He was 4-for-18 in five games since, and Manuel felt a day off would be beneficial.”

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