But really, Sweeney is just happy to be on a contending team. It will be motivation, Charlie Manuel said, but Sweeney isn't a guy who needs much.
"From what I've seen of him, just being able to get at-bats, every time he goes up to hit is motivation for him," the manager said. "He likes to hit. He talks hitting all the time."
The closest Sweeney ever came to the postseason was 2003, when the Royals were in first place in the American League Central as late as Aug. 29. Kansas City finished seven games back at the end of September.
"We wet the bed that month," Sweeney said.
The chance is especially sweet for Sweeney considering how his last month went. He had been on the disabled list since June 25 with back spasms. But Sweeney said the injury bothered him only one day.
"I spent about 30 days just biding time," Sweeney said. "I really didn't know what was going to happen. I knew that I had a great peace about it. So I went down to my rehab assignment and worked hard."
It paid off when Sweeney received a phone call from general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. on Wednesday welcoming him to the Phillies. Sweeney said he had spoken to former Phillie Cliff Lee during the season in Seattle (before Lee was traded to Texas) about playing in Philadelphia.
"He said it was the most fun he ever had," Sweeney said. "Great teammates, great clubhouse."
How much Sweeney can contribute to this team remains to be seen. He hit .263 with an .802 OPS in 30 games for Seattle. He has played limited time at first base in the last five years. But it was a low-risk move for the Phillies, who hope Sweeney can catch fire, energized by a playoff race.
"I've always dreamt of playing in the playoffs and playing meaningful games in September," Sweeney said. "Coming here to Philly is going to give me that opportunity. I won't take for granted one second being here."
Infielder Cody Ransom was designated for assignment to clear space for the addition of Sweeney. Ransom hit .190 with two home runs and five RBIs. It means outfielder John Mayberry Jr., who was recalled Tuesday from triple-A Lehigh Valley, will stick for now.
Checkup for Utley
Chase Utley flew back to Philadelphia ahead of the team Thursday for a scheduled doctor's appointment on Friday. It's expected that Utley will be told he no longer needs to wear the splint on his sprained right thumb.
Still, Utley remains weeks away from returning.
"I think it's important that he takes it easy at first," Manuel said. "We'll see. He's pretty much on the time they said. I don't think he's coming back too much earlier."
The original estimate on Utley's return was eight weeks from his July 1 surgery. That would be sometime around Aug. 26.
Manuel said he hasn't thought about what he will do with his outfield alignment when Shane Victorino (strained abdominal muscle) returns from the disabled list. Victorino is eligible to return Thursday. He may require additional time on the DL. Manuel said he did not want Domonic Brown to sit on the bench. "I'm sure it'll work its way out," the manager said. . . . First baseman Matt Rizzotti was promoted from double-A Reading to triple-A Lehigh Valley. Rizzotti led the Eastern League with a .362 batting average in 76 games. The 24-year-old prospect began the season in single-A Clearwater. . . . Darren Daulton will be inducted into the Phillies' Wall of Fame in a pregame ceremony Friday at Citizens Bank Park.