Dodgers acquire veteran 2B Chase Utley from Phillies

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Saying "it's time," veteran second baseman Chase Utley prepared to leave Philadelphia, after the Phillies traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday in exchange for two minor leaguers.

The Phillies also will send $4 million to Los Angeles to offset the $6 million remaining on Utley's $15 million salary. The Dodgers will send utility player Darnell Sweeney and right-handed pitcher John Richy to Philadelphia.

The Dodgers designated third basemanAlberto Callaspo for assignment to clear room on the roster for Utley.

The trade came a day after Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Utley was likely to stay in Philadelphia for the remainder of the season.

"Three weeks ago or so, I had a conversation with Ruben," Utley said during a news conference in Philadelphia on Wednesday night, according to MLB.com. "We put our heads together and decided it might be best for us to part ways. I gave them a list of a handful of teams that I would consider playing for, and then it was Ruben's job to find the best deal he could for the organization. And ultimately it came down to the Dodgers, a team I grew up watching."

Utley, who grew up in nearby Long Beach, has full no-trade protection and reportedly had expressed his preference to play in Los Angeles. Reports had linked Utley to the Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels and Chicago Cubs at various times.

"I don't think we're going to be around all night so we can go through all the great memories we had here, but obviously, winning the World Series here in 2008," Utley said. "Nothing is better than that. The way the city reacted to that team was truly special, something I will never forget. Going down Broad Street after winning the World Series was an amazing feeling. But ... it's time."

Utley will be paired again with longtime double-play partner Jimmy Rollins, whom the Phillies traded to the Dodgers for a pair of pitching prospects at December's winter meetings.

Rollins said he has had conversations with Utley as trade rumors have swirled for a couple of weeks.

"I think it'd be a lot of fun," Rollins said before the trade was announced. "One, that was his team. He went to school over at UCLA, plays well over at Dodger Stadium. Actually, beats up the Dodgers wearing a Phillies uniform. If everything goes through and he's here, it'd be nice to see him playing some home games there at a place he's comfortable hitting."

Utley, 36, is batting .217 but is 15-for-31 since returning from a right ankle injury. He was not in Philadelphia's starting lineup for Wednesday night's 7-4 win over Toronto.

Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said he spoke Wednesday with second basemanHowie Kendrick-- who is on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury -- to assure him the second-base job is his once he recovers. The Dodgers think Kendrick will be ready withinabout three weeks.

"Three weeks is a long time in a pennant race," Zaidi said.

The Dodgers have coveted Utley for months and had conversations with Amaro stretching back to early in the winter.

Utley has played some first base and has worked out at third base with the Phillies, so he could move into a utility role after Kendrick returns.

Utley is expected to be in uniform with the Dodgers on Friday in Houston. Utley's presence also will allow the Dodgers to use Enrique Hernandez some in center field, where he can spell slumping rookie Joc Pederson, who is 5 for his past 51 with 22 strikeouts.

Zaidi said the quality of Utley's at-bats, his improved defense since coming back from a series of injuries and his postseason credentials all added to his allure. The Dodgers haven't been to a World Series since 1988.

"He has a lot of attributes as a player that we felt would make him a great addition," Zaidi said. "As far as the clubhouse goes, his reputation there is as strong as anybody's, and deservedly so. He has a championship pedigree and he's viewed as a leader by teammates. He has a desire to win that's as strong as anybody's, and that can be a huge boost."

Utley will be a free agent in November, as will Kendrick and Rollins.

"Chase is an iconic, generational player here in Philadelphia, and arguably one of the most popular and most successful players we've ever had in our organization," Amaro said, according to MLB.com. "To have to take him away from our organization and put him in another one is not what I'd consider to be particularly gratifying. But I can say that I believe this is the best thing for all parties at this stage of the Phillies' development and this stage of Chase's career."

The Dodgers, who have a two-game lead in the National League West, lost 5-2 at Oakland on Wednesday and head to Houston to begin a three-game series with the Astros.

"I don't think it has totally set in yet that I'm not going to be around here for the rest of the year," Utley said. "I don't know. Time will tell. But both myself and my family were comfortable with this decision."

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