'Mates will miss Victorino

Posted: August 02, 2012

WASHINGTON - Nobody was shocked. That was not the reaction in the Phillies' clubhouse on the day the team traded away Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence at the deadline. Players understand how the business works better than we ever will, and they can read the National League standings, too. Truth be told, some people expected more trades that never materialized, involving starting pitcher Joe Blanton and others.

Still, there was this odd sensation.

"Without a doubt," second baseman Chase Utley said. "Shane's been here for a long time. He's been a very big part of this club. It is weird not seeing his face. It's weird not seeing Hunter. But that's how baseball works sometimes. This time of year can be a little tricky."

The Phillies have not been sellers at the deadline since 2006, a baseball eternity. Five division championships, two National League championships and one world championship have filled the intervening years, but the sport can be cruel and the odometer cannot be rolled back.

Which - after Victorino was dealt to the Dodgers and Pence to the Giants - pretty much leaves the memories.

"[Victorino] played an integral part in the success of this team," first baseman Ryan Howard said. "He was one of those core members that helped build this team to go on and win five division championships. He will be greatly missed . . .

"He's going to go out there and do what he does. It'll be fun. The Flyin' Hawaiian is going to be flyin', man."

Utley, too, praised the contribution Victorino has made in the last six seasons. At the same time, he was doing his best to steer the conversation to the present and, especially, the future. He said he believes the Phillies can rebound quickly from this wretched season.

"Without a doubt," Utley said. "I think we have a very strong team. We haven't had things go our way this year as far as injuries and things like that are concerned, but I don't think it's got us down. I think we need to really start to play better baseball."

Contact Rich Hofmann at hofmanr@phillynews.com

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