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Chase Utley's statements reflect Philadelphia Phillies' current mood

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Chase Utley has declared himself healthy and ready for the 2014 Philadelphia Phillies' season. His recent statements about the team also offered worthwhile insights into how the veteran feels about Philadelphia's realistic playoff possibilities.

Most players, especially veterans, put a positive spin into off-season comments about their employers. So, Utley's optimistic remarks weren't surprising. But, his state of mind does indicate a real sense of where the veteran core of Ryne Sandberg's team is at the moment.

Analyzing the odds of any baseball squad in mid-January isn't overly wise, as many regular season factors combine to create a legitimate postseason push. However, if the Phillies are able to break spring training with a sound roster and remain reasonably healthy during the season, it's fair to believe that 'Ryno' might be able to coax another October run from his collection of wily baseball birds.

Attitude is everything in one of the most cerebral games on the planet. Utley offered his upbeat winter assessment because he genuinely believes that his team has a chance to win this season.

While this specific roster will surely face a variety of challenges from opening day through game 162, it's fair to offer number 26 the benefit of the doubt right now.

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