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America's fittest men list includes Utley

America's fittest men list includes Utley

PHILADELPHIA -- All the dedicated years in the gym have finally paid off for Chase Utley.

The Phillies' 6-foot-1, 200-pound star second baseman is one of the "25 Fittest Guys in America," according to the June/July issue of Men's Fitness magazine.

Some of his eclectic fellow fit Americans include Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, actor Amaury Nolasco ("Prison Break"), actor Will Smith, golfer Tiger Woods and country rock star Dierks Bentley.

"It's a great honor to be one of the 25 fittest guys in the country," Utley said, tongue-in-cheek. "I'll probably get some grief from my teammates."

On the contrary, Ryan Howard, who "hopes to make the Top 200 some day," gushed about the work ethic of his teammate. During an offseason, Howard witnessed Utley's regimen at the Athletes' Performance Institute in Arizona.

"I saw how hard he worked and how dedicated he is," Howard said. "To me, it's no surprise that he's playing the way he's playing right now. That's a tough workout he does, and he's been doing it for three or four years. To be in the Top 25 is an amazing feat."

After taking 3 1/2 weeks off after the season, Utley began strength and flexibility exercises, spending three hours a day, five days a week, working out. He eats mainly chicken and some fruits and vegetables and drinks mostly water.

Catcher Chris Coste, while understanding why he wasn't -- and shouldn't be -- on such a list, wondered about the absence of pitcher J.C. Romero.

Romero shrugged jokingly.

"We're pitchers, and they don't realize what you got under the Major League uniform," he said. "It's no big deal. I'll live. I'm No. 1 on my wife's list at home."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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